Big Alaskan oil spill initially undetected

March 15, 2006

A 267,000-gallon oil spill, the largest on Alaska's North Slope, reportedly went undetected for up to five days before it was discovered this month.

BP officials told a Tuesday news conference in Anchorage the leak at the Prudhoe Bay oil production complex began as a pinprick-sized hole in a 34-inch pipeline, part of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The pressure in the pipe expanded the hole to about one-half inch, still small enough so as not to set off alarms.

The spill was detected by a BP worker driving through the area March 2, Maureen Johnson, BP's senior vice president and manager of the company's Prudhoe Bay operation, told reporters.

BP officials said the leak occurred in a section of pipe built during the late 1970's and is the first of such a magnitude resulting from the decay of the aging oil pipeline, The Times reported.

The largest oil spill in Alaska occurred in 1989, when approximately 11 million gallons flowed into Prince William Sound when the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Keystone pipeline's fate to be decided during Obama's term

Related Stories

Scientist: Oil slick likely from natural seafloor seepage

July 30, 2015

Coast Guard officials were still trying to determine the source of a mysterious miles-long oil slick off California's Santa Barbara County shoreline, but a scientist said Thursday that it's likely the result of naturally ...

Oil spills affecting fish population

July 15, 2015

A mixture of bitumen and gasoline-like solvents known as dilbit that flows through Prairie pipelines can seriously harm fish populations, according to research out of Queen's University and the Royal Military College of Canada.

NASA maps beach tar from California oil pipeline spill

July 2, 2015

When an on-land pipeline ruptured north of Santa Barbara, California, on May 19—spilling 105,000 barrels of crude oil onto Refugio State Beach and about 21,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean in the north Santa Barbara ...

Recommended for you

Magnetism at nanoscale

August 3, 2015

As the demand grows for ever smaller, smarter electronics, so does the demand for understanding materials' behavior at ever smaller scales. Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory are building a unique ...

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Study calculates the speed of ice formation

August 3, 2015

Researchers at Princeton University have for the first time directly calculated the rate at which water crystallizes into ice in a realistic computer model of water molecules. The simulations, which were carried out on supercomputers, ...

Small tilt in magnets makes them viable memory chips

August 3, 2015

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have discovered a new way to switch the polarization of nanomagnets, paving the way for high-density storage to move from hard disks onto integrated circuits.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.