ExxonMobil Fixes MO Pipeline Leak

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 @ 08:05 AM gHale

The part of the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline that leaked a small amount of oil last week in Missouri is now up and running.

A resident near Doniphan, MO, found oil leaking in his yard Tuesday. All told, about one barrel – about 42 gallons of crude oil — leaked from the Pegasus pipeline. The cause remains under investigation. The company completed the repair Friday.

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The pipeline running from Illinois to Texas already was out of service after a much larger breach in Arkansas in March. While the pressure was lower because the pipeline was down, but there was oil inside.

About 5,000 barrels of oil spilled in Mayflower, AR, in March. The cause of that leak is also under investigation.

Originally built in the late 1940s, the Pegasus pipeline is now the subject of scrutiny, as environmentalists argue the increased corrosive impact of transporting tar sands oil presents a greater concern than other forms of oil.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is ultimately responsible for approving the Pegasus pipeline’s restart.

On April 26 the PHMSA released a report on the Mayflower spill that gave more details. Of the approximately 5,000 barrels of crude oil involved in the pipeline breach, ExxonMobil cleaned up less than half.

The report also pointed to the contamination of surface water, accounting for 2,000 barrels of oil located in ditches and a cove south of nearby Lake Conway. Though the latest report does not indicate oil reached the larger body of Lake Conway, an independent study conducted by Opflex Solutions indicated otherwise.

As for the breach of the pipeline itself, according to the PHMSA that was caused by a “longitudinal rupture” in the pipe seam, originally laid down in 1947. The 20-inch, 858-mile Pegasus line delivers Western Canadian crude oil (or tar sands oil) from the Patoka Oil Terminal Hub in Illinois to refineries in Nederland, Texas.

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