Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) has installed a new section of pipeline in Mayflower, Ark., but there’s no word when heavy Canadian crude oil will start flowing through the Pegasus line.

A metallurgist will test the old section of pipe to determine why it ruptured on March 29, sending oil flowing through the suburban neighborhood 25 miles outside Little Rock.

Officials estimate 5,000 barrels of oil rushed out of a 22-foot-long gash in the pipeline.

While Irving-based Exxon, which has a significant presence in Houston, awaits word on what caused the more than 60-year-old Pegasus pipeline to rupture, some are asking if the federal government and energy companies are doing enough to ensure these older pipelines are safe.

The Wall Street Journal reports that older welding methods used before 1970 account for nearly a quarter of the 182,500 miles of liquid fuel pipelines crisscrossing the country. Federal regulators have commissioned a study to determine whether testing methods can detect flaws in older pipelines.

In 2012 alone, there were 364 liquid pipeline accidents, the most since 2002, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In Mayflower, crews removed soil and grass and are trying to restore the affected neighborhood back to normal. Sections of the storm drain that were contaminated by the oil spill also are being replaced.

ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Exxon, must submit a written plan before resuming operations, according to a corrective action order issued in the aftermath of the March 29 oil spill. That plan hasn’t been submitted as of Thursday morning.

Exxon has received 246 claims, and two homeowners have filed lawsuits seeking damages for lost property values.

The oil giant hasn’t ruled out buying out homes affected by the spill.

CEO Rex Tillerson said of Exxon that he’s “proud of the response and I’m really proud of the coordination we’ve had with the local authorities.”

Yesterday, Exxon overtook Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company.

sourced: Houston Business Journal April 18th, 2013