Oil Pipeline Ruptures in Arkansas
On Saturday, Exxon Mobil’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured in Arkansas, causing a leakage of oil that spread across the local town of Mayflower. Approximately “4,500 barrels of oil and water had been removed by Saturday evening,” and Exxon has shut down the pipeline to try and prevent any further damage. The oil leak was bad enough that 22 homes had to be evacuated. Exxon worked to ensure that the nearby lake was not harmed by the leak.
I feel that while the damages may not be enough to really hurt Exxon, it may provide some fodder for the opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline proposition. The main criticism of the pipeline lies with its environmental impact, focusing on the carbon dioxide that is produced when gathering fuel from oil sands, which is produced at a relatively higher level when compared to other methods of fuel generation. However, this latest incident provides physical evidence of potential damages. It is not much, but it is something to consider, and it could have some effect on the analysis of the pipeline. In the broader perspective, I doubt this single incident will have a large impact on the oil industry, let alone Exxon. Exxon quickly responded and reduced damages.