Prudhoe Bay oil field shut down
BP Exploration Alaska, Inc. has begun a phased
shutdown of the Prudhoe Bay oil field following the discovery of
severe corrosion and a spill from a Prudhoe Bay oil transit line.
Over time, these actions will reduce Alaska North Slope oil production
by an estimated 400,000 barrels per day, or approximately 8% of
the United States oil production.
The decision followed the receipt of data in late
July. Analysis revealed 16 anomalies in 12 locations in an oil transit
line on the eastern side of the oil field.
BP conducted inspections of the corroded wall-thinning
which appeared to exceed criteria for continued operation. A leak
and small spill estimated at four to five barrels was discovered.
BP is identifying and mobilizing additional resources
from across Alaska and North America in order to speed inspection
of remaining Prudhoe Bay oil transit lines. BP operates 22 miles
of oil transit pipeline at Prudhoe Bay. Smart pigging inspection
has been completed over about 40 percent of that length.
BP previously announced plans to replace a three-mile
segment of pipeline following inspections conducted after a large
spill discovered on March 2, 2006.