Exxon Starting Pipeline Work

Thursday, July 14, 2011 @ 05:07 PM gHale

With the Anonymous hacker group vowing to attack Exxon Mobil Corp. as a result of the oil spill in the Yellowstone River, the energy giant is now beginning to study how it will replace the pipeline that ruptured spilling 750 to 1,000 barrels of crude.

“In order to lessen the impact of the pipeline shutdown on the local economy,” Exxon started “preliminary work” for the replacement of the pipeline, which feeds Exxon’s Billings, Mont. Refinery, the company said.

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“This work includes discussions on permitting requirements, rights of ways, drilling equipment, contracting and pipeline fabrication and transportation,” the company said.

Exxon is also working to meet the requirements of a U.S. Department of Transportation order before it can resume pipeline operations in the area. The order included using horizontal drilling techniques to bury the pipeline deeper under the riverbed.

Although the cause of the rupture is still being investigated, officials suspect that flooding in the Yellowstone River may have eroded the riverbed and exposed the pipeline, which Exxon had determined was buried at a depth between five and eight feet.

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