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Pipe rupture sends fuel oil into France's Loire River

March 18, 2008|From the Associated Press

NANTES, FRANCE — About 3,000 barrels of fuel oil leaked into and along the Loire River after a pipe ruptured while a tanker was being loaded at a refinery, the oil company Total said Monday.

Cleanup teams were using floating dams and Total mobilized a 200-member team of its own to cope with the spill at the Donges refinery in western France that began late Sunday, the company said in a statement.

Local officials said chunks of solidified oil were spotted on Atlantic Ocean estuary beaches, and fuel was seen floating along 12 miles of river Monday evening.

Total spokesman Burkhard Reuss said the cause of the rupture was not immediately clear. The company was trying to determine how long it took for the leak to be repaired, he said.

The Donges refinery produces about 230,000 barrels a day, he said.

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