Exxon still waiting for ruptured Pegasus pipeline test results

Fri May 24, 2013 4:54pm EDT
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* Almost two months since Mayflower, Arkansas, spill

* Arkansas politicians demand part of line rerouted

By David Sheppard

NEW YORK May 24 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp is still waiting for test results from the ruptured section of its 95,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Pegasus pipeline, almost two months after it spewed 5,000 barrels of oil into an Arkansas suburb, the company said on Friday.

The Pegasus spill intensified the debate about the safety of transporting oil from Canada's tar sands across the United States. After a second far-smaller spill was discovered on the nearly 70-year-old line in Missouri last month, speculation has mounted the line could be down for much longer than initially anticipated.

The Pegasus line, which carries heavy Canadian crude from Patoka, Illinois, to Nederland, Texas, has been shut since it first burst in late March, leading to the evacuations of homes in Mayflower, Arkansas, and sparking a huge cleanup effort.

"It is premature to speculate on future plans for the pipeline until the investigation into the cause of the incident is completed," said Exxon Mobil spokesman Aaron Stryk in an email.

"We are still waiting on the results from the metallurgic lab testing. The information we gain from the investigation into the cause will inform the development of our plans in the future."

Exxon cut out a 52-feet (15.8 meters) section of the damaged pipeline in mid-April and sent it to an independent third-party laboratory to try to determine the cause of the spill.   Continued...