Portion of Pegasus Pipeline to Restart

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 @ 05:04 PM gHale


Exxon Mobil Pipeline Company’s Pegasus pipeline that runs through Texas got the green light from the feds Monday to restart a section.

The section, referred to as the southern segment, does not include Arkansas or Mayflower, where the pipeline ruptured and spilled several thousands of barrels of heavy crude and industry diluents one year ago.

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The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a certified letter to Exxon dated March 31 granting the company’s request to restart the segment of pipe submitted Jan. 31 of this year.

The company asked that the southern segment, 210 miles stretching from Corsicana, Texas to Nederland, Texas, to restart at a reduced pressure.

Exxon spokesman Aaron Stryk said Monday the company will operate the section of the pipeline at no more than 80 percent of the documented pressure at the time of the failure in Mayflower, pursuant to the corrective action order issued by PHMSA following the spill.

A remedial work plan for the northern segment of the Pegasus pipeline, the segment that includes Faulkner County, Mayflower and the Lake Maumelle Watershed, went over to the PHMSA from Exxon over the weekend, Stryk said.

The one year anniversary of the spill was Saturday, March 29.

Before Exxon could restart the northern section that includes Arkansas, the company must provide and get approval on a plan that includes verification of the pipeline’s integrity, according to PHMSA’s corrective action order.

Stryk said Exxon’s remedial work plan includes “multiple layers of integrity verification measures,” such as field inspections, excavations and hydrostatic testing, “which have been developed following a detailed investigation and analysis into the cause of the (oil spill in Mayflower).”

The tests in the remedial work plan, once approved, would take more than one year to complete, and the pipeline would not start in Arkansas before that time, Stryk said.

Stryk did not have a timeline for the restart of the southern or Texas segment of the pipe, but said, “We will restart the Texas segment once all necessary safety and operational steps have been completed.”

Exxon will use the Texas segment to take product between storage at Corsicana and refineries near Nederland and Beaumont.

The entire Pegasus pipeline is 850 miles long and transports crude from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas.

The failed pipeline uses ERW seam pipe, documented in as early as 1989 by a U.S. Department of Commerce and National Institute of Standards and Technology report to be “inherently susceptible to seam failures.”

Exxon also says the “root cause” of the failure was original manufacturing defects in the “low-frequency electric resistance weld seam.”

A metallurgical study submitted to PHMSA and commissioned by Exxon states the failure resulted due to the “reduction of the wall thickness” in the ERW seam caused by the presence of manufacturing defects.



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