- U.S. pipeline operators have a problem - finding cracks before they rupture and turn into oil spills.
- The "number one asset," a torpedo-like robot called a "smart pig," can't always spot the fissures, or the data collected can take months to analyze.
- A case in point came when Exxon Mobil (XOM) inspected a pipeline in Arkansas in February using a smart pig, only for the line to split open a month later and spill 5,000 barrels of crude. The device didn't find the minute cracks along the seam of the pipe that caused the burst.
- The boom in U.S. oil output is straining the country's 184,000 miles of pipeline, with the volume of spillages jumping by 77% so far this year to 93,000 barrels.
- Companies affected include EEQ, EEP, BKEP, MWE, KMR, KMP, SXE, EPD, PAA MMP, HEP and PSXP.