Shell Puget Sound Refinery

A view of the Shell Puget Sound Refinery from across Padilla Bay.

About $7.3 million in maintenance work is being planned along the Olympic Pipeline in Skagit County.

The 400-mile Olympic Pipeline runs north to south through Washington and into Oregon, carrying petroleum products as far as Portland.

It is supplied by two refineries in Whatcom County and two in Skagit County at March Point.

The pipeline is operated by BP, an international oil and energy company that also operates one of the refineries in Whatcom County, at Cherry Point.

Segments of the pipeline range from 12 inches in diameter to 20 inches, according to BP. It delivers gas, diesel and jet fuel to a variety of customers including SeaTac International Airport.

It can move 300,000 barrels through the region per day, according to BP.

BP is proposing replacing two segments of the pipeline in Skagit County. The company plans to replace one segment near where it crosses the Swinomish Channel in 2020, and to replace another segment where it crosses Colony Creek in the Bow area in 2021, according to permit applications.

The $5.3 million project near the Swinomish Channel is meant to replace a section of pipeline identified as needing inspection and possible repairs. The company states in its permit application that installing a new segment of pipeline is likely to be less harmful to the environment than digging up the existing segment.

“An inspection excavation would be complicated by its location immediately next to the Swinomish Channel’s west bank ... Excavation and potential repair of the existing pipeline was determined by Olympic to have a much higher potential for habitat impacts,” the permit application states.

The $2 million project at Colony Creek is needed to stabilize the banks of the creek, which the pipeline crosses.

“Olympic proposes to cut out and replace a portion of the pipeline ... and stabilize the upstream and downstream banks,” the permit application states.

The project is intended to protect the pipeline and improve water quality in the creek.

“The proposed work will have a net benefit to the local aquatic environment,” the application states. “Repairing actively eroding banks will reduce fine sediment loading to Colony Creek during high flows.”

Representatives of the company did not respond to requests for further detail on the two projects.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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