October 27, 2008

Corrosion Eyed in Alaskan Pipeline Rupture

A spokesman for the BP energy company says a recent pipeline rupture at an oil field in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, may have been due to corrosion.

BP spokesman Steve Rinehart said no one was injured in the Sept. 29 incident at the oil field, but the site was forced to shut down two well pads in reaction to the natural gas leak, the Anchorage Daily News said Sunday.

Those two pads, which produced nearly 5,000 gallons of oil daily, have yet to brought back into service since the emergency shutdown.

Rinehart said initial theories regarding the rupture have revolved around corrosion. A metallurgical analysis of the pipe will take place to confirm the suspicion.

If the rupture is ultimately blamed on corrosion, it will mark the most recent in a series of corrosion-related events that have plagued the energy conglomerate.

The Daily News said BP officials have faced increased government scrutiny as a result of several corrosion-related leaks dating back to 2006 in the Prudhoe Bay area.