Exxon finds tapping device on U.K. oil pipeline

Exxon Mobil (XOM -0.3%) is working to reopen one of the U.K.'s main underground fuel pipelines after the discovery of a tapping device and a stash of diesel that police believe was siphoned off by thieves.

XOM, which operates as Esso in Britain, says the device was found on the Midline pipeline that transports fuel from its Fawley Refinery near the south coast to its Birmingham fuel terminal in central England.

XOM does not expect retail customers to be affected by the pipeline closure because it has made alternative supply arrangements.

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Comments (8)
  • micium
    , contributor
    Comments (115) | Send Message
    Too bad they couldn't add some sugar to that fuel and let the thieves proceed with the use of it.
    22 Apr 2014, 01:12 PM Reply Like
  • tomlos
    , contributor
    Comments (1299) | Send Message
    How does someone actually drill and tap into a running pipeline?! Call me simple, but I just don't understand that...
    22 Apr 2014, 01:30 PM Reply Like
  • xomstock
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
    You weld or clamp a flange on and then drill through the valve and flange then pull the drill out and it pours out cleaning the cuttings then you close the valve. If you know when its down it makes it easy. Diesel is not like gas.


    Even so you have some guts to do this and it is not something you would expect in the Uk. Nigeria or some back water African country but not the UK
    22 Apr 2014, 03:51 PM Reply Like
  • medzjohn
    , contributor
    Comments (516) | Send Message
    Inside job
    22 Apr 2014, 02:37 PM Reply Like
  • FleetUSA3226
    , contributor
    Comments (882) | Send Message
    Don't they measure what they put into a pipeline and what comes out? Or was the siphoning so infintesmal?
    22 Apr 2014, 04:56 PM Reply Like
  • Instro
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    "Hot-Taps" are common in the Oil/Gas industry and are best done when pipeline is running. Probably someone who has worked in the industry. Large amount would have to be taken before it would trigger above metering errors.
    22 Apr 2014, 06:58 PM Reply Like
  • gabeau
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
    instro knows his stuff. Equations for the hoop stress limits on the solid un
    plasma pipe wall are calculated to know the allowable upper pressure limits. Yes in a muddy hole ten to twenty feet deep some pipeliner from La. Texas or such will be welding a bead around the pipe to secure the pluggable flanges. Normally there is not a large bunch of guys hanging around just to wathe:-) pipeliner
    23 Apr 2014, 01:56 AM Reply Like
  • gabeau
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
    instro really knows his stuff. the hot taps rely on the flowing (often flammable) fluid inside to cool the line while being welded on. If you calculate the parameters for a safe hot-tap as to pressure, rod size (smaller the better--say 1/8 or 3/32")etc. It is not considered good form to leave before the welding starts by the way:-)
    23 Apr 2014, 01:54 AM Reply Like
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