BP has reported another pipeline leak in its Alaskan oilfields. This is more bad news for the oil giant as it attempts to rebuild its reputation after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. According to BP, the pipeline handles 30,000 barrels per day at its Lisburne field, which is currently closed for maintenance. The pipeline ruptured during testing and spilled a mixture of methanol and oily water onto the tundra. BP has a long history of oil spills at its Alaskan pipelines — incidents which have hurt its public image in the U.S.
According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the leak, which occurred on July 16th, amounted to 2,100 to 4,200 gallons. Lisburne, which is managed as part of the Greater Prudhoe Bay Unit, has produced no oil since June 18th, according to Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission records, suggesting maintenance work requiring a prolonged shutdown. The field had been undergoing “its annual maintenance.” Previous problems including leaks from corroded pipelines in Alaska and the fatal Texas City refinery blast in 2005 had already earned the company a poor reputation for safety. Of course, we all know about the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.
Production from the entire Lisburne field remains shut off while the spill is addressed, according to Alaska officials. Efforts have been focused on containment and cleanup. The methanol-produced water mix has spread into wet tundra as well as onto a gravel pad, bringing risks to slow-growing vegetation. The pipeline will also have to be dug up to allow for an investigation into why it failed. Resumption of normal operations at that part of the field may require a relatively long wait.
Source: Insurance Journal
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