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.
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.
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