Oil still flowing at Prudhoe

BP has decided to continue production from the Prudhoe Bay western operating area (WOA) after considering a total shut-down when corroded pipes led to a small spillage.


BP has decided to continue production from the Alaskan Prudhoe Bay western operating area (WOA) after considering a total shut-down when corroded pipes led to a small spillage.



After consultations with state and federal regulators, current production is back up to about 150,000 barrels of oil and natural gas liquids per day. Production will increase to about 200,000 barrels per day as Gathering Center 1 ramps up to full production after completion of a planned maintenance shutdown.



BP has now completed 2,200 ultrasonic inspections in the WOA since March and will continue round-the-clock visual and infrared surveillance of the line to assure continued safe operations.



The cleanup team has recovered 17 barrels of oil, and the process is continuing. The team is now using water flood techniques to lift remaining amounts of oil from the tundra. This involves booming off the area immediately surrounding the spill, and then pumping in water from a nearby lake to flood the area. Oil is then recovered as it floats on the water. This process will be repeated several times today to maximize the amount of oil that is recovered.



Metal sleeves are being installed over sections of EOA pipeline showing corrosion damage. In the longer term, BP has completed its orders for 16 miles of pipeline to replace existing transit lines at Prudhoe Bay.