Skip to comments.Exxon pipeline leaks thousands of barrels of Canadian oil in Arkansas
Posted on 03/31/2013 5:02:56 AM PDT by Dartman
NEW YORK - Exxon Mobil was working to clean up thousands of barrels of oil in Mayflower, Arkansas, after a pipeline carrying heavy Canadian crude ruptured, a major spill likely to stoke debate over transporting Canadas oil to the United States.
Exxon shut the Pegasus pipeline, which can carry more than 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil from Pakota, Illinois, to Nederland, Texas, after the leak was discovered on Friday afternoon, the company said in a statement.
Exxon, hit with a $1.7 million fine by regulators this week over a 2011 spill in the Yellowstone River, said a few thousand barrels of oil had been observed.
A company spokesman confirmed the line was carrying Canadian Wabasca Heavy crude. That grade is a heavy bitumen crude diluted with lighter liquids to allow it to flow through pipelines, according to the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA), which referred to Wabasca as oil sands in a report.
The spill occurred as the U.S. State Department is considering the fate of the 800,000 bpd Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude from Canadas oil sands to the Gulf Coast. Environmentalists, concerned about the impact of developing the oil sands, have sought to block its approval.
Supporters say Keystone will help bring down the cost of fuel in the United States.
The Arkansas spill was the second incident this week where Canadian crude has spilled in the United States. On Wednesday, a train carrying Canadian crude derailed in Minnesota, spilling 15,000 gallons of oil.
Exxon expanded the Pegasus pipeline in 2009 to carry more Canadian crude from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast refining hub and installed what it called new leak detection technology.
Exxon said federal, state and local officials were on site and the company said it was staging a response for a spill of more than 10,000 barrels to be conservative. Clean-up crews had recovered approximately 4,500 barrels of oil and water.
The air quality does not likely present a human health risk, with the exception of the high pooling areas, where clean-up crews are working with safety equipment, Exxon said in a statement.
U.S. media said the spill was in a subdivision. Mayflower city police said the oil had not reached Lake Conway nearby.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency categorized the rupture as a major spill, Exxon said, and 22 homes were evacuated following the incident.
A spokesman for the Department of Transportation confirmed that an inspector from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration had been sent to the scene to determine what caused the failure. The Environmental Protection Agency is the federal on-scene coordinator for the spill.
Some environmentalists argue that oil sands crudes are more corrosive than conventional oil, although a CEPA report, put together by oil and gas consultancy Penspen, argued diluted bitumen is no more corrosive than other heavy crude.
The U.S. Department of Transportation earlier this week proposed a fine of 1.7 million for Exxon over pipeline safety violations relating to a 2011 oil spill in the Yellowstone River. Exxons Silvertip pipeline, which carries 40,000 barrels per day of crude in Montana, leaked about 1,500 barrels of oil into the river in July 2011 after heavy flooding in the area.
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez supertanker struck a reef in Prince William Sound off Alaska and spilled 250,000 barrels of crude oil.
I’m calling enviro-whacko sabotage by Ayatoilet Obunga’s or AlGore’s minions.
Did zer0 orchestrate this like the sandy hook debacle (it is getting harder and harder for me to not be a conspiracy theorist with the scum in this regime )
Sabotage by the envirofascists.
Just wondering why there are no refineries being built closer to the source? Is it too expensive or is it EPA stuff?
“Sabotage by the envirofascists.”
Let me modify my comment: by envirofascists in conjunction with Obama and his minions.
That’s a good question. I heard a talk radio guy here say he was out in Alberta and asked a gas station guy where the gas for his pumps was refined. The gas guy said, Oakville Ontario. So the crude is shipped from Alberta to Ontario, then the refined gas is shipped back. Huh?
I agree with you and suspect “envirofascists”.
Good thing the EPA wasn’t at the Spindletop Gusher in 1901.
We needed that to top off the article. Gimme a break.
The La Brea tar pits killed thousands of animals too.
Spindletop! Where Oil Became an Industry!
I just had to say that—it was the title given to every school kid in Beaumont (TX) in 1951 to write an essay. I was in the 8th grade at the time. I’m afraid most of us had no idea of the importance of the Lucas gusher to our town.
The gusher blew in in January of 1901. It was quite spectacular. There’s one old photograph of the gusher blowing into the air that was reproduced into poster size and plastered all over town during the week long celebration.
50 Million babies murdered? No big deal. Lets worry about the effect of an oil spill.
sabotage is what I think by some bast8d environmentalist willing to sacrifice the environment for some “greater good” in his small bean brain
It is near impossible to build a new refinery due to regulations and enviro opposition.
That is why you see current refineries expanding their capacity or, in the case of BP Whiting, IN, building a new refinery inside the current refinery.
They are all gearing up to process tar sands and North Dakota crude transported in by rail or tanker.
Nope, just a bible carrying assault rifle owner driving a SUV that ran into the pipe line that contained that evil Canadian crude.
I smell a ‘Rat!
In most cases there isn’t enough crude coming from just one source to warrant a refinery.
These refineries have oil coming in by pipeline, ship, rail, and trucks from all over.
To all- please ping me to Canadian topics.
Part of it is logistics. Crude can be shipped in a single pipeline, but the refined products need to be transported separately.
What a laugh. “Mother Earth” is more than capable of defending herself. She needs no assistance from these Enviro-morons. What hubris.
Because building the shortening the crude/bitumen pipeline doesn’t solve any problems. Instead of transporting one product now you are transporting many. The refinery does not only produce transportation fuels, it also produces chemical/plastic feedstocks, residual oil or petroleum coke, sulfur and often some others.
Moving the refinery farther from the multiple customers only spends money while creating additional problems of delivery.
I thought the Oakville refineries were all closed. I don’t think gasoline sold in Alberta comes from Ontario rather from refineries , Petro Can and Shell in Alberta and from BC.
He may have been referring the the Petro-Can Clarkson Refinery, near the Oakville-Mississauga boundary.
Thanks for the answers to my question. I appreciate it.
Once upon a time I picked bulk motor oil up there. I didn’t think they refined gasoline or distillates there. Those were picked up from terminals on the pipeline that runs from Sarnia to London, Toronto , Ottawa and Montreal.
Actually, I believe product pipelines like the Colonial System ship multiple products in the same line with spacers between.
Moving multiple products from concentrated areas of production to concentrated areas of consumption as a single product is more efficient from both shipping and distribution standpoints.
The rupture was underground so that may preclude sabtage. Also makes cleanup expensive and disruptive. Looks like Exxon just bought a housing development.
How products are separated in pipelines.
Depending on the exact location of the break I don’t think an ‘underground’ location would be beyond the EPA’s ability to get to, with a little help from ‘friends’ in high places.
However, let’s hope not.
I live in Edmonton only a few miles from three refineries, and there are more newer, larger ones N.E. of the city.
This size of pipeline leak is rare and no big deal as the cleanup process is routine and very manageable. There are thousands of miles of pipelines all over the US carrying all types of liquid products. Some are old and breaks occur due to corrosion or stress cracks. All pipelines have regular inspections but leaks happen. Even so, pipelines move liquids much safer and cheaper than almost all other ways of transport.
Multiple fuels like gasoline grades and diesel will ship through the same pipeline. But there are products other than transportation fuels made at a refinery.
Oh yes, I forgot about that.
And for more info than you probably wanted....
Many pipeline now don’t even run the spacer (pigs) between the different products.
There is little “mixing” provided the pipeline remains at a velocity that keeps laminar and not turbulent flow inside the pipe.
The little bit of transmix is routed to a slop or transmix tank. That is then tested to see if it can be blended in with diesel or the like and still meet spec, or it is shipped back to a refinery to be separated out again.
Depending on the speed of the analysis equipment and automation with that to valving, the off-spec transmix can be kept to a rather low volume.
Thanks for asking the question. It was an intelligent question and I was wondering, too.
Anyone know the status of this? I can’t find anything, even the Cornwall Alliance hasn’t got anything?
I found the whole thing rather odd. It happened on a Friday and I read about it Sunday, in a Canadian paper. I would have thought the MSM would have been all over this.
Maybe it was out of respect for Easter, or to prevent people from thinking it was an attack, or maybe whoever first found it, had to contact some people before it could be made public...
Two spills -- both involving Canadian crude -- in the past week is just a little too much.
Once you refine the stuff, you have to distribute it to its markets.
There are no existing networks of product pipelines in the area. Building such supporting infrastructure would amount to a bigger, more expensive project than building a new large-scale refinery.
Thus, the most economical procedure is the crude oil pipeline to Texas (Keystone), where the refineries are, thence distribution to the rest of the nation via the existing product pipeline network.
Thanks. Sometimes us Non-oil folks don’t have a clue.