The Cost of Pipeline Spills

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 01 Apr 2013 07:11
Tags: exxon pipeline usa

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In 2011, a pipeline carrying crude oil to the Exxonmobil Billings Refinery spilt 1,509 barrels of crude oil polluting the Yellowstone River. The accident was the result of flooding, a fact which the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), regarded as not much of an excuse. They are now seeking to impose a $1.7 Million penalty on Exxon.

As a result of its accident investigation, PHMSA is alleging that ExxonMobil failed to properly address known seasonal flooding risks to the safety of its pipeline system, including excessive river scour and erosion, and to implement measures that would have mitigated a spill into a waterway.

Exxonmobil have since made all the necessary repairs, and hopefully the incident will no be repeated. At least not in Montana, because it has already been repeated in Arkansas.

The Pegasus Crude Oil Pipeline has sprung a leak and spilled an as yet undetermined volume of crude. The pipeline is carrying Canadian crude to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

No doubt, Exxon will be slapped with another fine, though the cost of clean up and repair is always going to be much more expensive. The real cost however is going to be to the sector, and indirectly to society as a whole.

With the need for new oil and gas pipelines growing with every new well drilled, and the resistance to pipeline projects growing with every spill, the whole process of getting oil and gas to where it is needed, is getting more difficult, more drawn out and more expensive. The consumer, as well as the sector needs investments in pipeline infrastructure. So it is the responsibility of all of us, to make sure that the opponents of pipeline builing, are not given any new ammunition. The industry as a whole needs to raise its game.

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