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Oil & Gas

Small Leak Shuts Down Oil Pipeline in Alaska

January 11, 2011
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According to the New York Times, officials have said they had not determined the cause or full extent of the leak in a pipe that connects a huge storage tank to a pump that pushes oil down the pipeline in Alaska. In all, the 800-mile pipeline system carries about 10 percent of the oil produced domestically. The Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the pipeline operator, reported that there was little or no environmental damage from the leak, which was discovered on Saturday morning. Only about 10 barrels of spilled oil were recovered from the basementof a pumping station, but Alyeska officials said they could not say how long it would take before the piping was secure enough to increase pressure down the pipeline. BP owns the largest share of the consortium that runs the pipeline and depends on revenue from North Slope production to pay for damages caused by the blowout of a BP well in the Gulf of Mexico last year. BP officials said they hoped the pipeline could reopen in four to six days, but that would depend on the approval of government regulators. Engineers are developing options on how to repair the leaky pipe section or find an alternate way to move the oil to the pump.
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