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Here comes the spark Crude needed to break out…

BP has had to shut down the Alaska oil pipeline due to a “significant” leak at Pump Station 1.  It appears that a section of pipe that is buried in concrete is leaking.  This is going to mean the excavation of the site to decide if there has possibility been a long term leak.  This also is going to take the resetting of the pipeline with new concrete poured.  It is early January, with winter temperatures impacting this kind of work, at this time of the year.

This will also impact the restarting of the pipeline due to the crude cooling in place over the next few days to weeks.

BP spokesman Steve Rinehart called the incident a “significant event.” He said BP periodically has been forced to cut output due to large-scale power outages or when heavy winds have interrupted tanker loadings at the port of Valdez……The leak appeared to be from a section of piping at the station that is encased in concrete. Alyeska shut down the Trans Alaska Pipeline at 8:50 a.m. and crews were on site to assess the situation and isolate the source of the leak.

Ms. Egan said additional resources were en route to support containment, recovery and repair efforts.

“Until we excavate everything around the concrete encasement we can’t say definitively that it hasn’t leaked out into the soil,” she said. She said the shutdown of the pipeline “gives us time to assess the situation and do it without harm to the environment.”

After the pipeline was shut down, Alyeska ordered all North Slope producers to scale back production to 5% of normal levels.

The excavating of steel, concrete and freezing crude oil from the frozen tundra in the middle of the January winter is going to take longer than first estimated.  The US has realistically lost 9% of its supply indefinitely.