ExxonMobil reviewing corrective action order sent after oil spill

03 April 2013 16:20  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--ExxonMobil is reviewing a corrective action order sent from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) after its Pegasus pipeline ruptured last week in Arkansas and resulted in an oil spill, company spokesman Alan Jeffers said on Wednesday.

The order issued on Tuesday requires ExxonMobil to take “necessary corrective action to protect public, property and the environment from potential hazards” associated with the incident, said the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

ExxonMobil must obtain written approval from the director of PHMSA’s southwest region before the Pegasus pipeline can return to service.

Prior to that, the company must develop and submit a restart plan that provides adequate patrolling and includes measures to confirm the integrity of the pipeline during the restart process.

In addition, ExxonMobil must conduct complete mechanical and metallurgical testing and failure analysis within 45 days.

Within 90 days, it must submit a remedial work plan that would verify the pipeline’s integrity and address all factors known or suspected in the failure.

The work plan must be revised when necessary to incorporate the results of actions undertaken, and revisions must be submitted to the director for approval.

After restarting the pipeline, ExxonMobil must retain a pressure not exceeding 80% of the actual operating pressure, and the company must adjust all alarms, software programming, control points and pressure devices accordingly.

The pressure restriction will remain in effect until the company receives written approval from the director.

Additionally, ExxonMobil must submit quarterly reports to the director, including data, results of testing and evaluations, as well as description of repairs and other remedial actions.

It is requested but not required that the company maintain documentation of costs and include to-date totals associated with implementation of the correction action order.

ExxonMobil said on Tuesday that cleanup operations were ongoing as continuous air quality monitoring is being conducted.

The company has said that response crews have recovered 12,000 bbl of oil and water, and a plan that includes the replacement of affected soil is being developed for the phased return of the residents to the 22 homes that were evacuated.

The DOT is developing an excavation and removal plan for the part of the pipeline that ruptured, and a containment system has been deployed at Lake Conway as a precautionary measure.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has categorised the incident as a major spill, and a number of federal, state and local agencies are assisting ExxonMobil with response efforts.

The cause of the spill is under investigation, the company said. The Arkansas attorney general’s office is also looking into the incident.

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By: Tracy Dang
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