NEW YORK Nov 12 Exxon Mobil has been
granted a 90-day extension to submit a plan to repair its
70-year-old Pegasus oil pipeline that ruptured in Arkansas in
March this year, guaranteeing the line will be closed until at
least January, according to a filing from the Pipeline and
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
The 90,000 barrel-per-day Pegasus pipeline, which runs from
Illinois to Texas, spilled 5,000 barrels of Canadian crude into
the town of Mayflower, a few miles north of Little Rock, causing
the evacuation of dozens of homes in the community. The line has
since been shut.
Under the extension, granted by PHMSA in October, Exxon now
has until January 6 to conduct tests on the pipeline and submit
its plan for needed repairs on the line.
Last week, PHMSA said it has found nine probable violations
of safety rules in the rupture of the Pegasus line, which sent
crude spilling into a local creek that fed into Lake Conway, a
popular fishing area.
PHMSA said Exxon failed to recognize the risks associated
with the old piping.
Exxon has 30 days to contest the allegations.
In 2009, Exxon completed a three-year project to reverse the
Pegasus line to run north to south and increase its capacity by
50,000 bpd. The company did not increase the diameter of the
line, but raised the pressure of it.