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ExxonMobil expands Yellowstone pipeline cleanup
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) July 3, 2011

ExxonMobil said Sunday it was expanding its cleanup efforts following a pipeline spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana and that the total amount released was between 750 and 1,000 barrels.

"We are bringing in experts from across the country to clean up the oil," ExxonMobil Pipeline Company president Gary Pruessing said in a statement.

"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."

No cause has been identified for the release of oil from the pipeline, the company said, adding that it "met all regulatory requirements and has undergone inspection most recently in December."

ExxonMobil also promised "a thorough investigation" of the leak.

Considered one of the most scenic Western US rivers, the Yellowstone River starts in northwestern Wyoming and flows northward through Yellowstone National Park, feeding Yellowstone Lake and creating famous Yellowstone Falls.

It is one of the principal tributaries of the upper Missouri River.

Although the spill lies downstream from Yellowstone National Park, the river is seen as a major tourist attraction along all of its length.

The National Wildlife Federation said the spill highlights the dangers of such pipelines and is an argument for opposing a major pipeline to bring in oil from the Canadian tar sands.

"Oil and gas disasters are tragically common," the federation's Miles Grant said.

"Now the oil industry wants to build a new pipeline cutting right through America's heartland. The Keystone XL pipeline wouldn't carry just any oil -- it would carry tar sands, one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet."

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Chinese state media lashes out over oil spill
Beijing (AFP) July 3, 2011 - Official Chinese media on Sunday accused a major state energy company of failing to disclose full and immediate information about an oil spill from a rig off its northeastern coast.

Oil has been seeping into the Gulf of Bohai since mid-June, but the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) waited until July 1 to confirm details of the accident to investors, China National Radio (CNR) said.

Details had emerged before then on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

CNOOC says the situation is now under control.

The slick from the leak stretches for about 200 metres (650 feet), the radio station quoted a source at CNOOC as saying.

CCTV state television also highlighted what it said was a lack of information about the cause of the accident, which may have resulted from corrosion of pipes.

Han Xiaoping, director of the china5e.com website, which specialises in energy, said that failing to disclose timely information about the spill could have "serious consequences", according to CNR.

"The Bohai is a closed sea so its ability to self-clean is limited," he said, adding the area also contains fish that are caught for human consumption.

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US envoy says Iraq critical to global energy needs
Baghdad (AFP) July 2, 2011
The US ambassador in Baghdad said on Saturday that the State Department has asked for a $6.2 billion budget for Iraq in 2012, underscoring that its oil and gas reserves were critical for the world's future energy needs. "This country is on a glide path to increase its oil exports," James Jeffrey told reporters at the sprawling US embassy in Baghdad, the world's largest. The embassy plans ... read more

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