Exxon Mobilizes to Contain Oil Spill

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Exxon Mobil ( XOM) rushed to clean up one of its ruptured pipelines on Tuesday that had poured tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River in Laurel, Mont.

The pipe, which runs from Silver Tip, Mont. to Billings, Mont., burst on Saturday. It was shut down within seven minutes of pressure loss along isolation of the segment where the release occurred.
Oil from a ruptured Exxon Mobil pipeline in the Yellowstone River.

Exxon said about 280 people were involved in the cleanup effort, which included its own regional response team, emergency oil response organizations and contractors.

"We will stay with the cleanup until it is complete, and we sincerely apologize to the people of Montana for any inconvenience the incident is creating," said Gary Pruessing, ExxonMobil's pipeline president.

Exxon reported that it had received some 94 calls linked to the spill through Monday night, one-third of which were landowners filing complaints for property damage.

Authorities had not determined why the pipeline burst; it had passed an inspection in December. But the river has experienced higher-than-usual seasonal volume due to increased snow runoff from a very active winter.

Exxon had deployed vacuum tankers to suck up the oil from the river, and it had distributed more than 2,300 absorbent pads to soak up oil in areas next to it.

As of Tuesday, Exxon said that only one call concerned a contaminated bird.

Exxon's shares were at $81.97, down 4 cents.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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