Exxon blames manufacturer for Mayflower oil spill

MAYFLOWER (KATV) -Three and a half months ago, a pond of black tar sands covered a Mayflower neighborhood.

Since that time, a lot has been restored to normal, physically speaking - but not the mindset on who is at fault, regardless of the results of a new independent study.

ExxonMobil Wednesday used those results to place the blame for the Pegasus Pipeline rupture on someone else. The company maintains the pipeline wasn't worn down, rather it was a manufacturing problem that caused the break.

According to resident Genievee Long, "Initial reaction was quite a bit of rage. It's like they're placing the blame on someone{} else when these were their pipelines since they bought these pipes."

The company that originally made the pipe is no longer in business.

"I think the report...Exxon released today lends a lot of credence to the argument that this pipeline should never be restarted," said Glen Hooks with the Sierra Club.

The segment of ruptured pipeline that contained a 22-foot gash was sent to Hurst Metallurgical Laboratory in Texas. The lab's report identifies the cause of the rupture as "original manufacturing defects," according to ExxonMobil spokesperson Aaron Stryk.

Stryk said Wednesday the defects include "hook cracks" near the pipe's seam. Hook cracks, he explained, are metal separations at the edge of a metal plate that occur during welding. He said there are no findings in the report that indicate internal or external corrosion contributed to the leak.

Below is the company's full statement regarding the report's findings:

"ExxonMobil Pipeline Company (EMPCo) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have received the results of an independent assessment conducted by Hurst Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Inc. on the Pegasus Pipeline segment that failed on March 29, 2013. We are currently in the process of reviewing and analyzing the data.

"Based on the metallurgical analysis, the independent laboratory concluded that the root cause of the failure can be attributed to original manufacturing defects - namely hook cracks near the seam.

"Additional contributing factors include atypical pipe properties, such as extremely low impact toughness and elongation properties across the ERW seam.

"There are no findings that indicate internal or external corrosion contributed to the failure.

"While we now know the root cause of the failure, we are still conducting supplemental testing, which will help us understand all factors associated with the pipe failure and allow for the verification of the integrity of the Pegasus Pipeline. These tests will help us determine the mitigation steps we need to take to ensure a similar incident does not occur again."

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