Spilled crude oil is seen in a drainage ditch near Starlite Road in Mayflower, Arkansas on March 31, 2013. Oil that made it to the street went into storm drains that eventually lead to a cove connected to nearby Lake Conway, known as a fishing lake stocked with bass, catfish, bream and crappie. Exxon later deployed 3,600 feet of boom near the lake as a precaution. Crude oil also got into several homeowners’ yards, which will take longer to clean up.
Families were forced to flee from their homes yesterday after thousands of gallons of crude oil spilled onto roads in Arkansas following the rupturing of an Exxon pipeline. Incredible video footage shows the extent of the leak and the proximity the heavy Canadian crude oil was to homes in the area.
As Exxon Mobil continued the cleanup of the pipeline spill, opponents of oil sands development latched on to the incident to attack plans to build the Keystone XL line. Exxon said on Sunday that crews had yet to excavate the area around the pipeline breach before the company can estimate how long repairs will take and when the line might restart. Fifteen vacuum trucks remained on the scene for cleanup, and 33 storage tanks were deployed to temporarily store the oil.
The pipeline was carrying Canadian Wabasca Heavy crude at the time of the leak. An oil spill of more than 1,000 barrels into a Wisconsin field from an Enbridge Inc pipeline last summer kept that line shuttered for around 11 days.
The 848-mile pipeline used to transport crude oil from Texas to Illinois. In 2006 Exxon reversed it to move crude from Illinois to Texas in response to growing Canadian oil production and the ability of U.S. Gulf Coast refineries to process heavy crude.
The Arkansas spill drew fast reaction from opponents of the 800,000 bpd Keystone XL pipeline, which also would carry heavy crude from Canada’s tar sands to the Gulf Coast refining hub. Environmentalists have expressed concerns about the impact of developing the oil sands and say the crude is more corrosive to pipelines than conventional oil. On Wednesday, a train carrying Canadian crude derailed in Minnesota, spilling 15,000 gallons of oil. – Reuters