Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline to stay shut

A federal regulatory agency has found that ExxonMobil's proposed remedial work plan for the shuttered 648 mile portion of the Pegasus pipeline was inadequate, according to a Justice Department document filed in court this Tuesday.

In a letter dated 1 July and also filed in US District Court, an ExxonMobil attorney said the company has no plans to submit a revised work plan this year. Remedial work would be a necessary step before restarting the line's segment running from Patoka, Illinois, to Corsicana, Texas.

An ExxonMobil spokesman said on Tuesday that the company still expects to restart the pipeline "in the future."

The Justice Department filed the documents to support its motion asking the court in Little Rock to approve the state and federal governments' proposed consent decree with ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. and Mobil Pipe Line Co., both subsidiaries of ExxonMobil Corp.

The Pegasus has been shut down since 29 March, 2013, when it ruptured and spilled tens of thousands of gallons of heavy crude into a Mayflower subdivision, ditches and a cove of Lake Conway.

A letter from Richard Byrne, general counsel for ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., to the US Environmental Protection Agency's Dallas office, said that the company's "decision to restart the northern segment of the Pegasus Pipeline will be made consistent with the priorities established in managing its portfolio of pipeline operations, and its decision-making process will take market conditions into account."

He added, "At this time, we do not anticipate submitting a revised remedial work plan, a necessary predicate to restarting the northern segment of the Pegasus Pipeline, to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) this year."

The US Department of Justice filing says Arkansas and two ExxonMobil subsidiaries are in agreement about the decree.

Edited from various sources by Elizabeth Corner

Sources: Arkansas OnlineHouston Chronicle

Published on 09/07/2015

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