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Alaska regulators to probe BP wells

July 24, 2006
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According to the Associated Press, Alaska is investigating dozens of BP-operated oil wells on its North Slope following allegations this week that petroleum-based fluids had leaked onto the Arctic tundra. The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission had an inspector begin examining the integrity of 57 wells operated by the British oil company, said Commissioner Cathy Foerster. The investigation might be extended to other wells if warranted, she said. The allegations were first reported this week by The Financial Times. The newspaper cited an unnamed "veteran BP employee" in reporting that some BP wells had allowed gas and hydrocarbon fluids to the surface. The investigation was being launched even though the state agency had no information that any of the wells had leaked fluids onto the tundra, or that BP had operated the wells improperly, Foerster said. BP had previously shut down 37 of the 57 wells over concerns of petroleum products winding up in well cellars. It then shut down eight more to optimize oil production, leaving 12 wells still in operation. Those wells were being shut down this week after the Financial Times'' report.

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