(Adds detail, background)
HOUSTON, April 1 An Exxon Mobil Corp
crude oil pipeline that ruptured and spewed thousands of
barrels of oil into an Arkansas subdivision remained shut on
Monday as cleanup efforts continued with no word on when it
would be fixed and restarted.
The company had yet to excavate the area around the Pegasus
pipeline breach, a critical step in assessing damage and
determining how and why it ruptured.
Exxon spokesman Charles Engelmann declined to speculate on
when excavation would start. He said the company's focus remains
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S.
Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
Safety Administration (PHMSA), as well as state and local
responders, were on the scene as well.
Exxon also did not yet have a specific figure of how much
oil was released when the 20-inch line ruptured on Friday. The
company said on Sunday that 12,000 barrels of oil and water had
Engelmann said the ruptured section of the pipeline was
installed in the late 1940s, but had no information on when it
last underwent maintenance.
To prevent and track corrosion buildup, pipelines are
periodically "pigged," or cleaned with a device that moves
through the line to remove buildup of hydrocarbons, dirt, and
other substances. Often the device is outfitted with sensors
that point out areas of corrosion or wear and tear that need
PHMSA said in a recent report that more than half of the
nation's pipelines were built in the 1950s and 1960s in response
to higher energy demand after World War II. Some, like Pegasus,
were built earlier.
(Reporting By Kristen Hays; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and