Irving-based Exxon Mobil faces $2.7 million in proposed fines from a federal regulator for its March 29 pipeline spill in Arkansas. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on Wednesday said it found nine probable violations of safety rules in the break in the Pegasus pipeline . The 95,000 barrel-per-day pipeline has been shut since spilling about 5,000 barrels in Mayflower, Ark.
In August, PHMSA said the rupture appeared to arise from a manufacturing defect in the pipe, made nearly 70 years ago using a since-discontinued process. “Specifically, the operator failed to include the susceptibility of its Youngstown, pre-1970 ... pipe seam to failures,” PHMSA said in a letter to Exxon.
Exxon said it was disappointed by the decision but is cooperating with the agency’s investigation. It said it was still reviewing the government's notice and had not determined its course of action. “However, it does appear that PHMSA's analysis is flawed and the agency has made some fundamental errors," it said in a prepared statement. Exxon has 30 days to contest the allegations.
-- Jim Fuquay