Alaska Dept. of Labor Fines BP Alaska for Safety Violation

Last August's explosion at the Prudoe Bay A-22 well has resulted in a citation against BP Alaska for violation of the state worker-safety law. The Alaska Occupational Safety and Health office, a division of the state Department of Labor, said BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. failed to prevent excessive pressures in the outer annulus of the well that was the site of the explosion and fire. The company also failed to adequately train employees who were at risk of such explosions, the citation said.

The violation carries a maximum fine $7,000. However, John Stallone of the Alaska Department of Labor, said the state would demand changes that were "going to cost" BP "millions" of dollars. The state citation mandates that by Feb. 10 BP show proof of corrective action at the site. A BP spokesman said the company has already taken corrective steps, including better training and monitoring adoption of a procedure to temporarily shut down wells when pressure reaches a certain threshold.