Exxon pipeline leaks thousands of barrels of oil in Arkansas

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - An Exxon Mobil crude oil pipeline ruptured near Mayflower, Arkansas, spilling thousands of barrels of oil, the company said.

Exxon shut the 20-inch Pegasus pipeline, which carries crude oil from Pakota, Illinois, to the Gulf Coast, after the leak was discovered on Friday afternoon. Exxon said a few thousand barrels of oil had been observed.

Local media reported the spill occurred in a subdivision, and city of Mayflower police said the oil had not reached the nearby Lake Conway.

Federal, state and local officials were on site and the company said it was staging a response for a spill of more than 10,000 barrels "to be conservative."

The US Environmental Protection Agency had categorised the rupture as a "major spill," Exxon said, and 22 homes were evacuated following the incident. Clean-up crews had recovered approximately 4,500 barrels of oil and water.