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Pipeline Safety on Alaska’s North Shore

November 9, 2010

The Anchorage Daily News reports on an internal BP study about pipeline safety on the North Slope, suggesting that spill risks up north are getting serious. According to the report, “the walls of at least 148 BP pipelines on Alaska’s North Slope are more than 80 percent corroded.”

The quotes from steelworkers, welders and others who work on the pipeline every day are pretty damning too.

Marc Kovac, a BP mechanic and welder, said some of the pipes have hundreds of patches on them and that BP’s efforts to rehabilitate the lines were not funded well enough to keep up with their rate of decline. “They’re going to run this out as far as they can without leaving one dollar on the table when they leave,” Kovac claims.

“When you make a complaint about it, rather than fix it right they come up with another Band-Aid,” said Kris Dye, a BP oil worker and United Steelworkers representative on the Slope. “It’s very frustrating.”

They say, ‘Yep, in the next few years we’re going to upgrade all this fire and gas stuff and it’s going to be more dependable’ and blah, blah, blah,” said Glenn Trimmer, a BP technician who works on the Slope. “Well, after a few decades I’m not buying it anymore. We can’t even maintain the equipment that we have.

Is it safe to assume that this is a BP-only attitude toward pipeline safety? Or not?

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