City A.M. Reporter
BP discovered an oil and gas spill on a pipeline that serves the giant Prudhoe Bay oil fields in Alaska over the weekend, a company spokesman said yesterday.<br /><br />BP was assessing damages after it found the leak early on Sunday, a spokesman said. The line is one of dozens serving Prudhoe Bay, the biggest US oil field complex, whose output usually tops 400,000 barrels per day.<br /><br />Prudhoe output wasn’t immediately affected, although BP may cut some production as it repairs the line or idles others that share a T-shaped pipe support infrastructure, the spokesman said. “There may be some associated impact with neighbouring lines, but at this point there’s no way to quantify that,” he added.<br /><br />Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), the major conduit for Alaskan crude, was unaffected and shipped nearly 700,000 barrels a day on Sunday. BP’s spill occurred on an 18-inch common line carrying a mixture of crude, water and natural gas, Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation said. <br /><br />The amount of crude spilled and the cause of the leak are under investigation. The line wasn’t operating when the leak was found, although it still held oil and gas, BP said. The oil spill covered 8,400 square feet of snow-covered tundra, according to a situation report. The spill area wasn’t expanding, BP said.<br /><br />In 2006, BP faced serious operational issues in Alaska, when it discovered extensive pipeline corrosion following an oil spill. That forced the British oil giant to temporarily cut much of Prudhoe Bay’s output and later pay environmental fines.<br /><br />Analysts said BP’s newest pipeline fixes may result in some reduction of Alaskan crude output.