BP America Pres: To Replace All Prudhoe Bay Transit Lines

Dow Jones Newswires

HOUSTON Aug 07, 2006 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex)

BP PLC (BP) will replace all the main transit lines in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay field, BP America President Bob Malone said Monday.

The replacement is "part of a wider plan in restoring production and operations in a safe manner in Prudhoe Bay," Malone said during a conference call with reporters.

The company also will conduct a study, in cooperation with supervising agencies, to determine if "it's possible to safely continue operating portions of Prudhoe field," Malone said.

BP started a phased shutdown of the 400,000-barrels-a-day field after inspection revealed a leak last Friday.

During the same conference call, Steve Marshall, head of BP Exploration Alaska, said the shutdown process would begin later Monday and take three to five days.

Marshall said the corrosion that resulted in the leak discovered Friday was "different" from the corrosion that BP blames for a March spill in another part of Prudhoe Bay.

"The unexpected leak that occurred did not fit the corrosion mechanism we developed," Marshall said. "It was different from what we had assumed."

BP has already begun to examine how best to schedule repairs and procure pipes for the system-wide overhaul.

However, not all of the pipeline system, which was installed in the 1970s, is in a questionable state, Marshall added. The Lisbon line, which transports about 17,000 barrels of crude oil a day, was "confirmed to be in good condition."

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