BP's Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline Shut Down After 'Controlled' Spill

bp trans alaska oil pipeline photo

Photo: Wikipedia, CC
Pipeline Now Operating at 16% Capacity
As if we didn't have enough problem with oil in the Gulf of Mexico! Now it looks like the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, in which BP is the largest single owner of the pipeline operator (47%), had to be shut down because of an oil spill of "several thousand barrels of crude".
trans alaska pipeline map image

Image: Wikipedia, CC

Reuters reports that:

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, partly owned by BP (BP.L), shut down on Tuesday after spilling several thousand barrels of crude oil into backup containers [...]The shutdown followed a series of mishaps that resulted from a scheduled fire-command system test at Pump Station 9, about 100 miles (161 km) south of Fairbanks, said Alyeska Pipeline Service Co, the operator of the 800-mile oil line.

The power outage triggered opening of relief valves, causing an unspecified volume of crude oil to overflow a storage tank into a secondary containment. There were no injuries, but the approximately 40 people at the work site were evacuated, Alyeska spokeswoman Michele Egan said. (source)

We're far from the Deepwater Horizon explosion, but the wording of the above could be misleading. What the oil industry is calling "containers" and "secondary containment" could be just open air ponds. We'll have to wait for more details to be sure, and hopefully the situation will stay under control, but this is just another reminder that fossil fuels are dirty, and that things can break and go wrong -- sometimes with tragic results. Let's hope we won't see a repeat of the Gulf Spill in the Alaska wilderness.

Via Reuters
More on BP Oil Spill
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BP's Attempt to Plug Leaking Well With 'Top Kill' Delayed
NASA Captures First Photos of Massive 'Arm' of Oil Slick (Hundreds of Miles Long)
Kevin Costner Shows Machine that Extracts 97% of Oil From Water (Video)

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