Imperial, Exxon oil sands equipment run off Idaho, Montana roads

Imperial Oil  and Exxon Mobil Corp  said on Monday they have revised plans to ship massive pieces of oil sands equipment on US highways through Idaho and Montana after legal challenges and protests forced delays.

The two companies have spent months battling conservationists and residents along the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers in an attempt to move the two-lane-wide 'megaloads'. They will now try to dismantle the shipments and move them in smaller loads on bigger highways at a cost of some $70 million and the possibility of further delays for their $11 billion Kearl oil sands project.

Reuters reports Imperial and its parent company, Exxon Mobil, had been shifting around some work at Kearl to keep the C$10.9 billion ($11 billion) project on track for start-up at the end of 2012.

The LA Times quotes Bobby McEnaney, land policy analyst for the the Natural Resources Defense Council, as saying the alternative route alliance proves "Goliath can be stopped."

Still is from a video of a ConocoPhillips megaload, similar to that of Exxon and Imperial, crossing Maggie Creek in Idaho. Credit: Roger Inghram.