November 4, 2010 –- According to British Petroleum (BP) oil workers in Alaska, the company’s pipeline system that moves oil, gas, and toxic fluids and waste throughout the state is dangerously corroded.
An internal maintenance report obtained by ProPublica (“an independent, non-profit that produces investigative journalism in the public interest”), advises that more than BP pipelines on Alaska’s North Slope received an “F” rank from the company. (An F-rank indicates that more eighty percent of the pipe wall is corroded and has the potential to rupture.)
“Many of the walls of the F-ranked pipes are worn to within a few thousandths of an inch of bursting,” reports the non-profit, which could lead to an explosion or spills.
BP workers also maintain that the company’s fire- and gas-warning systems are unreliable, and that some holding tanks are on the verge of collapse.
After a pair of spills in 2006, BP temporarily shut down all transmission of oil from the North Slope to the continental U.S. while it examined its pipeline system (more than 1,600 miles of pipe).
According to BP mechanic and welder Marc Kovac, some of the pipelines now have hundreds of patches. “They’re going to run this out as far as they can without leaving one dollar on the table when they leave,” maintains Kovac.
BP spokesman Steve Rinehart maintains that 151 locations—not entire pipes—are rated “F.”