by Max Brantley
The operator failed to follow its Operations and Maintenance procedures by selectively using results of its Threat Identification and Risk Assessment Manual (TIARA) process in 2011 which resulted in the failure to properly characterize the risk of a release to the Lake Maumelle Watershed, and other [high consequence areas] HCAs in the Conway to Foreman segment of the pipeline. This resulted in the failure to determine an "Identified Threat" related to Manufacturing existed on the segment ....
ExxonMobil has caused undue harm to Arkansas families, and they must be held accountable. I commend the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for issuing this penalty. The fight’s not over, but this is a positive step forward as we work to make the Mayflower community whole again.
We are disappointed that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has decided to issue a Notice of Probable Violations (NOPV) on the Pegasus incident.
ExxonMobil Pipeline Company (EMPCo) remains under a Corrective Action Order for the pipeline and is cooperating with PHMSA in all matters related to the investigation. PHMSA approved a 90-day extension last month for submitting a work plan on Pegasus to allow for the completion of previously approved supplemental testing and analysis on the pipeline.
We are committed to understanding the factors that led to the release in Mayflower first and then establishing the integrity of the entire pipeline to ensure an incident like this does not happen again.
We will review the NOPV and will continue to work with PHMSA on any follow up actions.
In the meantime, the Pegasus pipeline is down, and we will not restart it until we are satisfied it is safe to do so and have the approval of PHMSA.
Regarding next steps, we are still reviewing the NOPV and have not yet determined our future course of action. However, it does appear that PHMSA’s analysis is flawed and the agency has made some fundamental errors. For example, Alleged Violation #2 claims that EMPCo failed to conduct a re-assessment of Pegasus within 5 years of the 2005-06 baseline assessments. In fact, EMPCo conducted the required reassessment in 2010. This is shown by Alleged Violation Numbers 5 and 6 which reference the In Line Inspections tool runs performed in 2010 as part of the 2010 reassessment.