Several other major pipelines intended to transport diluted bitumen from Canada's tar sands could be affected by the Pegasus outcome.

By Lisa Song

Industry analysts and others who have wondered whether ExxonMobil will restart the broken Pegasus pipeline that leaked Canadian oil across an Arkansas suburb should get their answer in 2014.

The 65-year-old pipeline hasn't shipped any oil since it ruptured on March 29, costing Exxon as much as $450,000 a day in lost revenue, or up to $124 million as of Jan. 1. It's unclear when exactly the company might resume pumping oil through the 858-mile line that crosses dozens of waterways, farms and residential neighborhoods on its way from Illinois to the Texas Gulf Coast—though a decision is underway.

Exxon spokesman David Eglinton said the company "will not restart it until we are satisfied it is safe to do so and have the approval of [federal regulators]."

Several other major pipeline projects could be affected by the Pegasus outcome, because operators are planning to reverse the flow inside older, existing pipelines to carry dilbit from Canada's tar sands. That is exactly what Exxon did to the aging Pegasus in 2006. Some experts believe the extra pressure swings required to move dilbit could have contributed to the line's failure. The Pegasus was already prone to rupture due to a faulty 1940s-era construction technique as well as flawed maintenance and operations.


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