UPDATED: New Oil Spill in Alaska, Pipeline is 51% Owned by BP
Another day, another oil spill. And before you ask: Yes, BP is involved. We're only catching snippets of this breaking news, but the AP reports:
Alaska environmental officials say crude oil at a pump station of the trans-Alaska pipeline flowed into a tank and than a containment area when a valve failed to close.The quantity of the release into the containment area, a pad surrounded by berms and underlain with an impervious liner, was not immediately known, The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon during a scheduled pipeline shutdown at Pump Station 9 near Fort Greely, about 100 miles south of Fairbanks.Meanwhile, KTVA 11, Anchorage's CBS affiliate says that the pipeline is 51% owned by BP. Workers have been evacuated due to the threat of explosion. Updated (@ 5:32 pm PT): KTVA reports that "severalthousands of barrels worth of oil have spilled at an Alyeska Pipeline pump station." It appears the crude oil is flowing into a containment area with acapacity of 104,500 barrels. State officials indicate that no environmental damage has been wreaked so far and so presumably we ought be thankful the spill occurred in a containment area, but the timing couldn't be worse -- for BP, that is. Updated (@ 5:55 pm PT): Some background! BP has a terrible track record in Alaska. The trans-Alaskan pipeline was completed in 1977 and is 800 miles long. BP owns the largest share of it -- 51 percent -- and the entire thing is managed by a management consortium known as Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. The pipeline runs to Valdez -- as in Exxon-Valdez, yes. (BP was involved in that mess but avoided a lot of the bad press Exxon faced because it settled out of court.) More recently, in 2006, a pipeline managed by BP in Prudhoe Bay faced the following: "a badly corroded 34-inch-diameter pipeline (...) lost oil for at least five days before a worker driving down a nearby service road on March 2, 2006, smelled oil and spotted the spill, which covered at least two acres of tundra. At 200,000 gallons, it was the largest ever on the North Slope."