WASHINGTON, April 17 Exxon Mobil Corp
said on Wednesday it had no estimate for the restart of a
pipeline that spilled 5,000 barrels of oil in a small Arkansas
town last month and sparked debate about the safety of carrying
heavy crude from Canada across the United States.
A U.S. Department of Transportation source said Exxon had
not yet submitted a restart plan.
"At this time, our focus remains on clean-up operations,"
Exxon spokesman David Eglington said of the Pegasus pipeline,
which spilled the crude oil in a middle-class section of
Mayflower, a town of about 2,300 people.
He said DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration must approve Exxon's plans to repair, test and
restart the pipeline before the 90,000-barrel-per-day line can
be returned to service.
The DOT source said, "When they will submit that (restart
plan) and when we would approve it, I can't say," adding that
some restart plan approvals have taken a day, while others have
taken much longer.
Exxon said on Tuesday that it had installed a new section of
the pipeline a day after it removed the broken portion. The
52-foot-long (15.8 meter) damaged pipeline piece was being
shipped to an independent lab for metallurgy tests to figure out
why it broke. The testing must be completed before Exxon is
allowed to restart the pipeline.