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Posts Tagged ‘tundra’

BP Leaks in Alaska, Again

Posted by feww on December 2, 2009

BP pipeline in Alaska sprung another leak on Sunday

The pipeline delivers more than 30,000 barrel per day at Lisburne field at Prudhoe Bay, which has a total production of 400,000 bpd.

Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Alaska Denali Fault trace passes beneath the pipeline (Dated November 2002). Photo: USGS.

“We are implementing the spill cleanup plan,” BP spokesman in Anchorage was reported as saying.

Alaskan officials believe that it could weeks to clean up the spill and determine if BP’s latest leak has caused serious environmental damage.

“It’s going to take a while, but they will clean it down to the tundra when they’re done. That’ll be a few days to a couple of weeks,” Dale Gardner, an Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation was quoted as saying.

“They won’t know until they clear everything away how far it penetrated and whether the tundra is affected or not.”

BP said they didn’t know what caused the pipeline leak or how much oil had spilled, but estimated that the leak had affected an area measuring about 800 square meters.

Cleanup is said to be hampered by extreme cold, short daytime and pipeline safety procedures (the line is partially pressurized, and is protected by a 3-meter safety barrier, preventing cleanup crews from getting too close), a spokesman said.

BP is under a three-year probationary period imposed by terms of a federal criminal settlement reached in 2007 after its Alaskan pipeline spills in 2006, which led to partial shutdown of  production in Prudhoe Bay.

State of Alaska map showing place names and Trans-Alaska pipeline route in red. US Govt Map.

More than 500 spills a year occur in the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and along the 800-mile route of the rusty old Trans-Alaska pipeline system, built about 35 years ago. (See 2006 story at  CS Monitor).

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