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Arkansas Oil Spill: Exxon Shuts Pegasus Pipeline After Rupture

March 31 (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil on Sunday continued cleanup of a pipeline spill that spewed 1000’s of barrels of heavy Canadian crude in Arkansas as opponents of oil sands development latched on to the incident to assault plans to construct the Keystone XL line.

Ethylene EquipmentExxon spokesman Alan Jeffers stated on Sunday that crews had yet to excavate oil real time the realm across the pipeline breach, a needed step earlier than the corporate can estimate how long oil real time repairs will take and when the road might restart.

“I can’t speculate on when it should occur,” Jeffers mentioned. “Excavation is necessary as a part of an investigation to determine the cause of the incident.”

Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline, which may carry greater than 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas, was shut after the leak was discovered late Friday afternoon in a subdivision near the city of Mayflower. The leak forced the evacuation of 22 homes.

Exxon also had no particular estimate of how a lot crude oil had spilled, but the corporate stated 12,000 barrels of oil and water had been recovered – up from four,500 barrels on Saturday. The company did not say how a lot of the total was oil and the way a lot was water.

Allen Dodson, Faulkner County decide who is the highest executive for the county the place the spill occurred, informed Reuters in an interview on Sunday that the odor of crude was less potent on Sunday as cleanup efforts continued, saying it was weaker than the scent of fresh asphalt laid on a highway.

“The freestanding oil on the street has been removed. It’s nonetheless damp with oil, it’s tacky, like it is earlier than we do an asphalt overlay,” he stated.

Exxon mentioned it staged the response to handle 10,000 barrels of oil “to make sure ample resources are in place.”

Officials from the U.S. Environmental Safety Agency and the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Supplies Safety Administration (PHMSA) additionally have been on site to research the spill.

Fifteen vacuum trucks remained on the scene for cleanup, and 33 storage tanks have been deployed to temporarily retailer the oil.

The pipeline was carrying Canadian Wabasca Heavy crude at the time of the leak. An oil spill of greater than 1,000 barrels into a Wisconsin subject from an Enbridge Inc pipeline last summer kept that line shuttered for around eleven days.

The 848-mile (1,381 km) pipeline used to transport crude oil from Texas to Illinois. In 2006 Exxon reversed it to move crude from Illinois to Texas in response to rising Canadian oil production and the ability of U.S. Gulf Coast refineries to process heavy crude.

The Arkansas spill drew fast response from opponents of the 800,000 bpd Keystone XL pipeline, which additionally would carry heavy crude from Canada’s tar sands to the Gulf Coast refining hub.

Environmentalists have expressed considerations concerning the affect of developing the oil sands and say the crude is more corrosive to pipelines than standard oil. On Wednesday, a prepare carrying Canadian crude derailed in Minnesota, spilling 15,000 gallons of oil.

“Whether it’s the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, or … (the) mess in Arkansas, Individuals are realizing that transporting massive quantities of this corrosive and polluting gasoline is a foul deal for American taxpayers and for our environment,” stated Representative Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat.

Supporters of Keystone XL and oil sands development say the huge Canadian reserves can assist drive down fuel costs in the United States. A report from the Canadian Vitality Pipeline Affiliation, put collectively by oil and gas consultancy Penspen, argued diluted bitumen is no extra corrosive than different heavy crude.

A year ago Exxon won a court attraction to charge market charges on the Pegasus line, or charges that are not capped and that may change along with market situations without prior approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Fee.

That decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. said the Pegasus pipeline is now the “main avenue” to move Canadian crude oil to the Gulf Coast. The ruling additionally mentioned Exxon strikes about sixty six,000 barrels per day on the road.

Last week PHMSA proposed that Exxon pay a $1.7 million tremendous over pipeline security violations stemming from a July 2011 oil spill from its Silvertip pipeline within the Yellowstone River. The line, which carries forty,000 barrels per day in Montana, leaked about 1,500 barrels of crude after heavy flooding in the area.

Exxon has 30 days from the March 25 order to contest those violations.
In line with PHMSA, the U.S. has 2.Three million miles of pipelines.

Exxon said that by 3 a.m. Saturday there was no additional oil spilling from the pipeline and that trucks had been introduced in to help with the cleanup. Photos from native media confirmed crude oil snaking alongside a suburban road and spewed throughout lawns.

Twenty-two properties in the affected subdivision remained evacuated on Sunday, although Mayflower police have been providing escorts for residents to temporarily return to retrieve personal gadgets.

Jeffers stated a few houses “seem to have small quantities of oil on their foundations,” but he had no data on damage estimates or claims. Exxon had established a claims hotline for affected residents and stated about 50 claims had been made up to now.

Dodson stated oil that made it to the road went into storm drains that eventually lead to a cove linked to close by Lake Conway, referred to as a fishing lake stocked with bass, catfish, bream and crappie.

He stated native responders that included firemen, metropolis workers, county oil real time street crews, police rapidly built dikes of dirt and rock to dam culverts alongside that path that stopped crude from fouling the lake.

“We were just within the nick of time,” he said.
Exxon later deployed 3,600 feet of increase close to the lake as a precaution.

Dodson said crude additionally received into a number of homeowners’ yards, which is able to take longer to clean up.
“We’ve just gotten used to having pipelines go through cities and counties, and also you hope one thing like this would not occur. My coronary heart goes out to the entire individuals personally impacted,” Dodson said.