Anchorage, Alaska (ots/PRNewswire) -
BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. said today it will re-start a portion
of the Eastern Operating Area of Prudhoe Bay in order to run cleaning
pigs and conduct an in-line inspection of the crude oil transit line
using a "smart pig." The eastern portion of Prudhoe Bay was shut down
on Aug. 10 following discovery of a spill caused by isolated pitting
corrosion on Aug. 6.
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The company, working closely with the U.S. Department of
Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration, has determined that the line can be returned to
service. Three of the four flow stations currently on warm stand-by
will be returned to full production.
"This is an important milestone in returning all of Prudhoe Bay to
production many months in advance of our complete replacement of 16
miles of oil transit lines," said David Peattie, BP Group Vice
President for Existing Profit Centers. "It is a result of the
considerable efforts of BP employees working in cooperation with
contractors and federal and state regulators."
The DOT approval allows BP to run an in-line diagnostic tool --
called a smart pig -- through a five-mile, 34-inch diameter segment
that carries oil from processing facilities on the eastern half of
the Prudhoe Bay field. The results of the smart pig inspection, to be
confirmed with Ultrasonic Testing inspection, will help BP and the
DOT determine whether to continue operations through the transit oil
line or to shift production through a system of bypass lines
currently under construction.
BP has performed tests on thousands of feet of the Eastern
Operating Area pipeline using ultrasonic and other imaging equipment.
As added precaution, BP's start-up plans include an enhanced
spill-response contingency plan, in which crews and material will be
positioned to respond if any leak occurs.
BP anticipates safely restarting the field will take about a week.
Resuming full operation of eastern Prudhoe should add about 200,000
barrels of daily oil production from the North Slope of Alaska.
Current daily production from the rest of Greater Prudhoe Bay is
about 250,000 barrels per day.
For more information about BP's Alaska operations visit
Web site: http://www.bp.com
ots Originaltext: BP PLC
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