ExxonMobil: No Timetable On Pipeline Restart

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 3 views 

From David Goins with our content partner, KARK Ch. 4 News, reports:

ExxonMobil officials said Monday they would not restart the ruptured Pegasus Pipeline until the oil giant receives federal regulatory approval.

The Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has not indicated when or if that approval would arrive.

Exxon reiterated Monday at a meeting with U.S. congressman Tim Griffin, (R ) and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola that it is still awaiting results of testing conducted on the pipeline in February, approximately six weeks prior to the rupture.

Previous testing on a different portion of the pipeline in 2010 did not reveal any anomalies that would account for the failure on March 29th that spilled 210,000 barrels of oil into the Northwoods Subdivision in Mayflower.

ExxonMobil also released a fact sheet regarding four Pegasus pipeline integrity tests. One test occurred in 2006, two in 2010 and two in 2013.

Exxon’s description of the results from 2013 include:

2013 Transverse Flux Inspection (TFI): 

  • Conducted test on segment from Conway to Corsicana (330.5 miles).

-Fully validated results for the entire run are not yet available. Preliminary un-validated results have been provided, but more work is needed to validate the data.

-So far, we have completed over 40 validation digs related to the 2013 tool run.

  • ExxonMobil accelerated the process for the 2,200 ft. segment that included the point where the pipeline breach occurred (Maumelle was not included).

-Preliminary indications are that metal loss anomalies in the body and the seam of the pipeline, along with dents identified, are all benign and not of a size that would warrant repair.

-Anomalies identified were verified via inspection digs and found to be benign and within acceptable federal standards and industry codes.

2013 Metallurgical Analysis of Mayflower Breach:

  • An independent laboratory concluded that the root cause of the Mayflower failure can be attributed to original manufacturing defects – namely hook cracks near the seam.
  • Additional contributing factors include atypical pipe properties, such as low impact toughness, high strength, and high hardness properties across the ERW seam.
  • There are no findings that indicate internal or external corrosion or mechanical damage contributed to the failure.
  • Supplemental testing is being conducted to better understand all factors associated with the pipe failure. This includes further evaluation of material toughness, residual stress, mechanical properties, chemical analysis of deposits, and resistance to environmentally assisted cracking, among others.