Exxon starts removing damaged oil pipeline

Nov. 7, 2011 at 10:17 AM
| License Photo

BILLINGS, Mont., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- It may take weeks for salvage teams in Montana to remove a section of the ruptured Silvertip pipeline for an independent investigation, an official said.

Crews worked through heavy snow last weekend in starting operations to remove a section of the pipeline from the Yellowstone River near Billings, Mont.

Crews working for Exxon Mobil set up a coffer dam around the pipeline and deployed mechanical "pigs" to clean out the damaged section.

An Exxon Mobile spokeswoman told the Billings Gazette it would take several weeks to get the pipeline out of the ground. The section is to be sent to an independent facility for analysis.

Around 1,200 barrels of oil spilled from Exxon Mobil's Silvertip pipeline into the Yellowstone River near Billings in early July. Flooding slowed cleanup efforts and teams were sent in to remove debris soaked with oil after water levels dropped.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in September approved of the energy company's return-to-service plan, which allows Exxon to restart operations on Silvertip.

The PHMSA added it was still determining whether Exxon broke safety regulations during the days leading up to the July 1 failure on the pipeline.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
B-52 bombers demo long reach of U.S. air power
Army orders tactical trucks from Oshkosh
Reddit CEO Ellen Pao offers to improve communication in wake of firing scandal
Raytheon wins IDIQ contract for Army sensor systems
Airbus Helicopters joint venture with Mahindra Defense in India