Removal of ExxonMobil's ruptured pipeline to begin on Monday

15 April 2013 15:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--ExxonMobil said response crews on Monday will cut and remove the damaged section of the Pegasus pipeline that ruptured on 29 March and resulted in an oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas.

“A 52-foot [15-m] section of the pipe will be cut and placed on a flatbed truck for transport to an independent third-party laboratory for metallurgy testing,” the US energy giant said.

ExxonMobil said about 5,000 bbl of oil was spilled in the incident, adding that a final estimate will be released once the line has been repaired and refilled.

There have been reports of an odour in some areas, but air quality monitoring have shown data that are either non-detectable or below action levels established by the state health department, the company said in an update on Sunday night.

Clean-up is almost complete in the affected section between the main road and Interstate 40, and work is continuing in the subdivision and marsh area between the highway and the cove near Lake Conway.

“Water sampling confirms the main body of Lake Conway remains oil-free,” the company said. “Further assessments show that there is no oil in Palarm Creek, which is located south of Lake Conway.”

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

The cause of the spill is still under investigation.

The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office is also probing the incident, while two residents have filed a class-action lawsuit against the energy giant, seeking more than $5m (€3.8m) in damages.

ExxonMobil also was issued an order from the US Department of Transportation that requires the company to take “necessary corrective action to protect public, property and the environment from potential hazards” associated with the incident, said the agency’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

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

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Tracy Dang
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