After a long delay, ExxonMobil restarted a section of its Pegasus pipeline in Texas more than a year after a crude oil spill in central Arkansas forced the company to shut down the entire line.
The southern portions of the pipeline restarted July 9, said ExxonMobil spokesman Aaron Styrk. The Texas section includes a 205-mile segment between Corsicana and Beaumont and a 6-mile segment between Beaumont and Nederland.
The Pegasus pipeline ruptured in March 2013 in Mayflower’s Northwoods subdivision, sending an estimated 210,000 gallons of heavy crude into the neighborhood, drainage ditches and Lake Conway. Authorities have said the oil did not reach the main portion of the lake.
The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration approved the oil company’s restart plan for the section on March 31. Federal guidelines state the pipeline segment must operate at partial capacity. The restriction will remain in effect until ExxonMobil gets permission to do otherwise.
Styrk said the pipeline restarted after “extensive safety and operational testing.”
It’s unclear when the pipeline’s northern section will reopen. Damon Hill, a federal safety administration spokesman, said the agency has not yet approved the oil company’s remedial work plan for the northern segment.
Subsidiary Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co. said a Texas laboratory had identified manufacturing defects, specifically hook cracks, as the cause of the pipeline’s rupture. But it wasn’t clear why the hook cracks failed.