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Exxon to remove damaged part of Arkansas oil pipeline on Monday

Spilled crude oil is seen in a drainage ditch near Starlite Road in Mayflower, Arkansas March 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jacob Slaton
Spilled crude oil is seen in a drainage ditch near Starlite Road in Mayflower, Arkansas March 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jacob Slaton

(Reuters) - A 52-feet section of Exxon Mobil Corp's damaged Arkansas crude oil pipeline will be cut and removed on Monday, the company said.

The portion of the Pegasus pipeline, which ruptured on March 29 resulting in a 5,000-barrel oil spill, will be transported to an independent third-party laboratory for metallurgy testing, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

Early last week, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who launched an investigation into the oil spill, said the rupture was more than 22 feet long and two inches wide.

The Pegasus pipeline, which can transport more than 90,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Pakota, Illinois, to Nederland, Texas, was carrying Canadian Wabasca Heavy crude at the time of the spill. This grade is a heavy bitumen crude diluted with lighter liquids to allow it to flow through pipelines.

Some residents evacuated from their neighborhood in Mayflower, a town about 25 miles north of Little Rock, when the rupture sent crude spilling in yards and streets have the option to return to their homes, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Health said on Friday.

For 13 consecutive days, data from the air monitors in the Mayflower community have shown levels that are either non-detect or below action levels established by the Arkansas Department of Health, according to the statement.

At least 26 private residences and public buildings have had indoor air quality monitoring conducted at the requests of the public and all have been cleared by the Arkansas Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The cause of the spill is under investigation.

(Reporting by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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