It's the Environment, Stupid.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

More oil spilled in Prudhoe Bay than first thought

Last Saturday I blogged about an oil spill in Prudhoe Bay, AK, where a leak was discovered in a BP pipeline that had released an estimated 19,000 gallons of oil.

Well, the BBC reports (based on the AP article I think) that it was more like 267,000 gallons - which they're calling the largest oil spill on AK's north slope. (The 1989 Exxon Valdez spilled 11m gallons in to the region's water. The now second largest north slope incident occurred in 2001 with 38,000 gallons).

The NY Times listed an AP article that says clean-up crews have recovered about 5,700 gallons in the Prudhoe Bay spill, and officials have reassured the press that ''The volume is large, but the footprint is small...It's contained and controlled, which is the really good news. Morale is high, despite the cold temperatures and harsh conditions.''

BP told KTVA, an Alaskan TV station, “We're obviously not happy that we've had a spill, but I think at the end of the day what the story will be--it will be that even though we had a spill of this size, we were able to contain it to a small area, less than two acres, and that we had a fantastic spill response.” KTVA also reports that Alaska's Dept of Environmental Conservation is pleased with the clean-up response. (Warm fuzzies all around!)

The source of the leak was a small hole in the pipeline, perhaps caused by corrosion, which was detected March 2 (at least that's when the first press stories ran.)

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