Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Pipeline Leak Near Prudhoe Bay

Here is a story to keep an eye on. A pipeline operated by BP began leaking near Prudhoe Bay in Alaska.

The spill, from a line at the Lisburne field, was reported on Sunday by BP and by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. The amount of crude spilled and the cause of the leak are under investigation.

Lisburne produces about 35,000 barrels per day, Rinehart said. It is part of what is known as the Greater Prudhoe Bay area, which normally produces more than 400,000 bpd.

The 18-inch (45-cm) Lisburne line carries a mixture of crude oil, water and natural gas, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

Leaked material has covered about 8,400 square feet (780 square meters) of snow-covered tundra, the department said. A small amount of an oil-water mixture continued to drip from the leak late Monday, but the area affected has not expanded, Rinehart said.
So far there is no assessment of wildlife or other environmental impacts. However, there is some reason to be concerned because these sorts of leaks have happened before and Prudhoe Bay is home to some sensitive wildlife areas.