ExxonMobil Says Pipeline Burst A ‘Manufacturing Defect’

by Roby Brock (roby@talkbusiness.net) 5 views 

A report regarding the pipeline burst that led to the Mayflower oil spill has been received by a federal agency and while the report has not been made public, ExxonMobil officials, who have seen it, claim “manufacturing defects” were responsible for the break.

Aaron Stryk, Communications and Media Advisor for ExxonMobil Corp., tells Talk Business in a statement that it has reviewed an independent analysis conducted by Hurst Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Inc. on the Pegasus Pipeline segment that failed on March 29, 2013.

“Based on the metallurgical analysis, the independent laboratory concluded that the root cause of the failure can be attributed to original manufacturing defects – namely hook cracks near the seam,” Stryk said.

The pipeline was built in the late 1940’s.

He added that additional contributing factors include atypical pipe properties, “such as extremely low impact toughness and elongation properties across the ERW seam.”

“There are no findings that indicate internal or external corrosion contributed to the failure,” Stryk said. “While we now know the root cause of the failure, we are still conducting supplemental testing, which will help us understand all factors associated with the pipe failure and allow for the verification of the integrity of the Pegasus Pipeline. These tests will help us determine the mitigation steps we need to take to ensure a similar incident does not occur again.”

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the federal agency that regulates oil pipelines in the U.S., received the report earlier today.

Wednesday was the deadline for the report after several delays had been requested.

The pipeline burst has displaced scores of citizens in the Mayflower community and caused concerns for the environment to nearby property owners and waterways. Local officials have been looking into the possibility of having the Pegasus pipeline moved out of the Maumelle watershed in response to the break.

U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer and Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) filed a joint lawsuit last month seeking punitive damages from ExxonMobil related to the spill.