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By Samuel R. Avro on May 25, 2010 with 20 responses

Alaska Pipeline Partly-Owned by BP Shut Down After Oil Spill

Tags: BP, oil spill

As if the news for BP couldn’t get any worse.

A scheduled fire-command system test at Pump Station 9, about 100 miles south of Fairbanks, triggered an unexpected opening of relief valves, and caused an unspecified volume of crude oil to overflow a storage tank into a secondary containment.

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) was completely shut down after an unknown quantity of oil overflowed from a 55,000-barrel storage tank at a pumping station. Environmental officials say that as much as several thousand barrels of oil may have escaped into the containment area.

Unexpected valve openings at PS 9 forced BP to shut down the entire Alaskan Pipeline to prevent an oil spill from escaping the containment zone.

The containment area has the capacity to hold over 100,000 barrels of oil, and no spillage escaped beyond the containment zone, according to a spokeswoman for pipeline operator, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. (APSC). Fortunately, nobody was injured, however, approximately 40 workers were evacuated for precautionary reasons.

Alaskan officials say they are concerned that some of the vapors can potentially start a fire and have dispatched spill response crews to the scene.

BP, who owns 47 percent of APSC, is its largest shareholder. Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips also hold a stake in the pipeline. TAPS, stretching over 800 miles, conveys oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, Alaska and was built between 1974 and 1977.

Last month a BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, uncontrollably flooding the region with thousands of barrels of oil per day. That disaster, deemed by many to be the worst oil spill in American history, has already cost over $700 million in cleanup and untold ecological damage.

  1. By BeckyMinx on May 26, 2010 at 12:05 am

    this is why gas prices are so high, because BP loses half of their oil

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  2. By russ on May 26, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Actually no big deal as the oil apparently was held within the containment area. No leaks to the environment.

    The reason you carry out tests such as this is to see what can go wrong – to test equipment.

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  3. By Andrea on May 26, 2010 at 11:06 am

    This absolutely baffles me. I mean…when is it going to stop? BP needs to get it together.

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  4. By Andrew Sinclair on May 26, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Why was the past paragraph necessary? The information was not part of this news story. And, as I understand it, “oil spill” means that the oil entered the unprotected environment, not entered into a safety zone specifically provided for the purpose. And, Becky, the oil is not “lost” — it can be recovered and put back into the processing stream. This is design using defense in depth, which is the way engineers are supposed to think. It’s when all the backup systems fail, such as in the Gulf blowout, that we have a big problem.

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  5. By john on May 26, 2010 at 11:15 am

    So, the system worked. They were testing, there was a spill, the containment caught it. However, blame BP sells ads. Fucking lying media.

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  6. By Joe on May 26, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    @John,
    Ya, Blame BP. They are the majority stock holder of the pipeline. The article did not lie, it informed us of what happened. If the media did not inform us, we would not have all the necessary information so we can make intelligent decisions when voting on such issues.

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  7. By Skippy on May 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    This is horrible. I hope they sue BD for each and every single penny of theirs. I mean every single penny until they have no more pennies to spare!!!

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  8. By russ on May 26, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    @Skippy – For the Alaska thing? What would they be sued for?

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  9. By Skippy on May 26, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    @russ – I don’t know, gotta sue for something right. Wasting oil maybe?

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  10. By CEA on May 26, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    The tragic incident in the Gulf of Mexico and its unfolding aftermath has brought the subject of American offshore energy development and safety into the minds of many across the nation. Beyond the immediate response, the priority is to Find Out What Happened, apply that information to Fix It and Ensure it Never Happens Again; and Move Forward to ensure economic growth, jobs & stable energy prices. Hundreds of thousands of jobs, as well as the economic livelihood of this nation are directly tied to offshore oil and gas development. We need more oil & gas development, not less…but we MUST access these resources safely and effectively. Consumers can do their part by being more conscience about how we use these resources.
    Want to learn more about balanced energy for America? Visit http://www.consumerenergyalliance.org to get involved, discover CEA’s mission and sign up for our informative newsletter.

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  11. By paul-n on May 26, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Sam, can we do something to stop these blatant, self serving posts from CEA?  They belong in the pop up ads, not the forum discussion.

     

    To address what they said..

    the priority is to Find Out What Happened, apply that information to Fix It and Ensure it Never Happens Again; and Move Forward to ensure economic growth, jobs & stable energy prices. Hundreds of thousands of jobs, as well as the economic livelihood of this nation are directly tied to offshore oil and gas development. We need more oil & gas development, not less

    So, here is the ONLY way that can make sure this NEVER happens again – stop offshore oil and gas development.  Simple really, and since solves the problem CEA highlights, we can expect them to supoprt such a move.

    But then they say we need “more oil and gas development, not less”,  hmm, the MORE you have, the MORE chance there is of this happening again.

    And this;

    the economic livelihood of this nation are directly tied to offshore oil and gas development. 

    Actually, I’d say the economic livelihood of this nation would be better served if it could find a way to get off oil completely.  But even if an affordable alternative to oil was found tomorrow, like say, a breakthrough in nuclear fusion, would the oil dominated CEA support it?

    And this;

     Consumers can do their part by being more conscience about how we use these resources.

    This is sort of true, as long as what consumers do is reject oil in all it’s forms, demand rail instead of air travel, use non oil fuel for their vehicles, reject the use of plastics, etc.

    They should just call themselves the “energy alliance”, as there is no consumer representation on their board, it is just an industry group trying to perpetuate their business.

     

     

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  12. By savro on May 26, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Paul N said:

    Sam, can we do something to stop these blatant, self serving posts from CEA?  They belong in the pop up ads, not the forum discussion.

    Paul, I share your frustration with the CEA comments. They’re always careful to keep their comments on topic so as not to appear as “spam” (it’s pretty much borderline), which is why –although it has gotten annoying after reading the “hey, be sure to check us out at…” time and time again– I’ve never done anything about it (which is probably their strategy).

    That said, now that you bring it up, I think I’ll contact them and ask them nicely to try and contribute more to the discussion, as opposed to commenting for the sake of posting their link – even if itsn’t blatant spam. However, If they can’t…

    I hate having to do it, but they’re not giving me much of a choice.

     

     

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  13. By paul-n on May 27, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Thanks Sam.  It’s not quite “blog spam”, more like reading a form letter.

    This one, for example, had nothing to do with the Alaska pipeline.

    I have no problem with them posting here, if they actually take part in the discussion.   For all we know Rufus could be the VP of the RFA or Growth Energy, but he does actually discuss and respond, and is a positive contribution.  CEA’s stuff is not – they never partake in discussion.  If they are as smart as they seem to think, then they should assign someone to actually participate here, rather than trying to direct us there.

     

    To get back to the original topic, all BP needs is a corporate or political bribery scandal, and that will probably be the end of them, at least, in the US!

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  14. By russ on May 27, 2010 at 3:01 am

    @ Sam – They are using you to get clicks – let them post an ad for which you receive income or else let them find another free way to advertise.

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  15. By CEA on May 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for the comments. We appreciate having a chance to participate in these discussions and will refrain from adding links back to our URL in future posts. Thanks for educating us. We look forward to continuing to contribute to this and future discussions. Keep up the good work.

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  16. By savro on May 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    CEA said:

    Thanks for the comments. We appreciate having a chance to participate in these discussions and will refrain from adding links back to our URL in future posts. Thanks for educating us. We look forward to continuing to contribute to this and future discussions. Keep up the good work.


     

    I’m glad to see that you’re taking this in the right way, as opposed to taking offense.

    I don’t have a problem with you adding links, as long as it’s linking back to something directly related to the topic of discussion and to a point you’re attempting to make. The key is to be informative and add value to the discussion.

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  17. By CEA on May 27, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks again. We will be sure to do so.

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  18. By Hellodave on June 21, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    This is all so true, and very saddening. People must realise that there is more important things than money and oil. See my page on how this area of alaska could be affected by the oil industry: http://hubpages.com/hub/Old-Cr…..l-Industry

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  19. By russ on June 22, 2010 at 9:29 am

    @Hellodave – The link you provided has nothing to do with the Alaska spill that I read about – that one was contained within dike walls provided for exactly that purpose. 

    This particular spill was not endangering anything that I can understand.

    I’m sure the green sites are ablaze about it but then they depend on sensation rather than fact.

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  20. By John on July 26, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    For those idiots out there, BP bought it’s stake in the pipeline about a decade ago. The maintenance issues of the pipeline go back way before then. Also, BP has the biggest single stake, but it does not have the final say of the pipeline. So why don’t you uneducated dum asses go and blame the real parties in these problems. Just like you blame BP over the gulf spill. BP did not own, nor command the oil rig that sank!

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