Exxon: Oil Spill in Arkansas Not Oil, No Cleanup Dues


The central Arkansas spill caused by Exxon’s aging Pegasus pipeline has reportedly unleashed 10,000 barrels of Canadian heavy crude - but a technicality says it’s not oil, letting the energy giant off the hook from paying into a national cleanup fund.

Legally speaking, diluted bitumen like the heavy crude that’s overrun Mayflower, Arkansas, is not classified as ‘oil’. And it’s that very distinction that exempts Exxon from contributing to the government’s oil spillage cleanup fund.

US law says no ‘oil’ spilled in Arkansas, exempting Exxon from cleanup dues — RT USA


Legalese bull droppings almost always cause unintented consequences somewhere. It’s simple, it was their pipe leaking, they need to clean up whatever mess it made.


Trekky, did you try looking into the story a bit, perhaps from a source that understands the US a bit better, unlike, apparently, that Russian “news” source? Reuters, for example, reports that Exxon-Mobil is doing clean-up work, and gives some background, such as how quickly Exxon-Mobile shut down and isolated the pipeline, and notes two recent inspections of the area that ruptured.

U.S. Government Issues Corrective Order for Exxon Spill
3 Apr 2013, 5:05 AM PDT

(Reuters) - U.S. pipeline regulators on Tuesday ordered Exxon Mobil Corp to take necessary corrective action for its ruptured pipeline that spilled thousands of barrels of crude oil into a small Arkansas housing development last week.

The U.S. Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration’s corrective order said Exxon estimated that 3,500 to 5,000 barrels of crude spewed from the breach. Exxon had so far only said publicly that it had recovered 12,000 barrels of oil and water.

The order also said Exxon learned of the failure on Friday afternoon because pressure in the pipeline dropped. The company shut valves north and south of the rupture site - 18 miles apart - within 16 minutes of the pressure drop, PHMSA said.

The order also noted that Exxon inspected the line in July 2010 with a device that both cleans and finds problems, but no anomalies were found. The area of the rupture also was inspected in February this year, but Exxon has not yet received results of that test.

BTW, the title you gave the thread, which is not the title of RT’s article, is somewhere between false and highly misleading. The current title is “Arkansas oil spill: Exxon reacts to tax ‘loophole,’ pledges ‘to cover all costs’”. Also, RT’s article reports double to triple the amount of oil spilled than Reuter’s reports (US DOT’s regulators’ report of Exxon’s estimate of the spill size), but gives no source for their 10,000 barrels claim. I suggest you use caution, if not skepticism, in using RT as a news source.


But the point needed to be addressed is the aging infrastructure of the pipeline around the United States. America NEEDS American oil but if the major as well as fringe oil producers do not keep the pipeline infrastructure up to date, the public needs to hold their feet to the fire until they do. If we don’t, the corrupt fed will.


The Reuters article indicates that Exxon-Mobil was in the process of replacing/upgrading that pipeline.


So you disagree with importing oil from the oil sands in Western Canada then?


So I’m to feel better because they inspected the pipeline that ruptured recently? That makes me feel worse, it means they don’t even know when they could rupture. Now imagine this pipeline being 4ft across and over major water aquifers.


Not exactly a good comparison. Some of the Alberta sands will run through old pipelines but to my knowledge most of it will be new pipeline. Someone will correct me if I’m wrong.


So I’m to feel better because they inspected the pipeline that ruptured recently? That makes me feel worse, it means they don’t even know when they could rupture. Now imagine this pipeline being 4ft across and over major water aquifers.

Try reading the article, BOP. My point was that the article Trekky linked is intended to give readers the impression that E-M is avoiding paying for the clean-up and is carelessly using an antiquated, worn-out pipeline. In reality, E-M is doing the clean-up (obviously with their own $$), recognized the age of the pipeline and was in the process of replacing it, and had been monitoring it through testing. What you missed by not reading the article was that the results from this year’s test had not yet been received by E-M. Thus, contrary to the conclusion to which you jumped, BOP, their testing might have caught the weakening, but E-M had not yet been informed. The reality of complex, extensive, tests is that evaluating the raw data can take time.

But if you demand perfection, BOP, demand it of yourself first. Maybe you’ll figure out that ordinary real-world humans can’t achieve perfection.


In the 1960’s I worked on pipelines for a couple of years. One thing I was involved in was testing existing pipelines to meet new pressure test requirements for river crossings. We would isolate river crossings and test to 2,000 lbs pressure. I was only involved in the isolating part of the project. Some of the old lines were screw pipe and we would weld each end of the coupling sleeve before the test was applied. I don’t know what the specifications are today, but they were pretty strict in the sixties.


If they cannot conduct maintenance and observations on pipelines now then why should I trust them in the future to do it?


If perfection is the qualifier, then by that logic, why should anyone trust you? Fair question.

And Pete noted that THEY WERE IN THE PROCESS of maintenance at the time.


I’m not asking anyone to trust me.

Them being in the process of maintenance still illustrates that these errors can occur. Except with Keystone then it will be a much larger pipe, over aquifers that I drink and eat food from.


The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund keeps beiing brought up, and I don’t understand the commentors’ logic in it. Such as,

“As these sorts of heavy oils that are exempt from this tax continue to make up a larger percentage of oil transported in the US, it will only serve to stretch the fund even further, while putting families, communities, and ecosystems at greater risk,” he said.

This spill has absolutely no affect on that fund whatsoever, as E-M are using their own funds to clean it up, and even find & pay for places to live for those who had to be evacuated.
I’m sure that’s a nuisance and a half to those residents, but it sounds to me like E-M is doing everything in its power to take care of things responsibly.

And comments like this:

Judge Allen Dodson of Arkansas’ Faulkner County seemed to reflect the concerns of those impacted by the latest spill of heavy bitumen crude, saying: “Crude oil is crude oil. None of it is real good to touch.”

and this:

He said that cleanup crews are operating non-stop, creating a lot of noise.

…just make me want to slap people up 'long side the head.

Furthermore, I cannot think of one appliance, power tool, heat/cooling system, vehicle, tractor - you name it - that doesn’t need regular maintainance, and even with that, will break down, or eventually wear out.

And the only time I get upset is when that happens one day after the warranty runs out. LOL