Energy

Exxon Oil Spill in Arkansas, Keystone Spoiler?

The rupture of an Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) pipeline on 29 March in Mayflower, Arkansas, just northwest of Little Rock, adds to Keystone XL’s woes as the public tallies recent oil spills and

So far, Exxon has managed to collect around 12,000 barrels of oil and contaminated water from the spill, but not before some 22 homes were evacuated.

Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline carries up to 96,000 barrels a day, running from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas.

The Arkansas spill adds to the tally of 364 spills last year alone from US pipeline ruptures. In total, some 54,000 barrels of oil and refined products have been leaked over the course of this year and last (not counting the “little” leaks).

Related article: Exxon Mobil Oil Spill Turns Residential Roads into Rivers of Oil

It’s bad timing for Keystone XL, which just saw a small victory on 22 March when the Senate approved in a 62-37 vote a non-binding resolution supporting the development of the pipeline project. Keystone XL would carry over 800,000 barrels of Canadian diluted bitumen daily to US Gulf Coast refineries. Environmentalists argue that this diluted bitumen is more corrosive and more difficult to clean up than conventional heavy crude.

Right now, the Obama administration is waiting for the opinion of the State Department on the project, which must weigh in on the issue because the pipeline crosses an international border.

The Exxon Arkansas spill follows the Enbridge Inc. (NYSE: ENB) spill of over 843,000 gallons of diluted bitumen in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010.

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