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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Oil Spills and Fines Timeline

It's a little-known fact that the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System - the corrosion and neglect of which has recently been in the news and has resulted in round of Congressional hearings for BP, starting today - has had a history of spills and problems dating back to the late 70s.

Here is a timeline of Trans-Alaska Pipeline spills and fines from 1998 to the present:

- The Prudhoe Bay oil fields and Trans-Alaska Pipeline have caused an average of 504 spills annually on the North Slope since 1996 according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
- There were 4,532 spills between 1996 and 2004 totaling more than 1.9 million gallons of toxic substances, most commonly diesel, crude oil and hydraulic oil.

August, 2006
BP forced to shut down half of its Prudhoe Bay production after finding severe corrosion in its pipeline. BP, which hadn’t cleaned its Prudhoe Bay pipelines since 1992, discovered the corrosion after being ordered to clean and test the pipes by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

August 23, 2006
BP still working to control a small leak at an offshore oil rig damaged nearly one year earlier in Hurricane Katrina.

August/September, 2005
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused 124 spills of petroleum products into the Gulf of Mexico totaling 741,384 gallons of product. The majority of the spills were minor and none of the oil reached shore. During the storms 457 pipelines were damaged and 113 drilling platforms were destroyed.

July 18, 2006
BP was forced to shut 12 oil wells after a company whistleblower reported that over 50 were leaking.

July, 2005
Thunder Horse, the largest semi-submersible oil platform in the world, incurs heavy damage from Hurricane Dennis.

March 26, 2005
Corrosion causes a pipeline in the Kuparuk oil field to leak 111,300 gallons of oily water onto the North Slope.

March, 24 2005
An explosion at a Texas oil refinery owned by BP results in the deaths of 15 workers. BP accepts full responsibility for the incident.

January, 2005
BP fined $1.3 million (reduced from a proposed $2.53 million) for safety violations at a Prudhoe Bay well accident that seriously injured a worker in 2002.

January, 2005
BP fined $102,500 for violating gasoline well pressure buildup rules drawn up after a well explosion.

October, 2004
Aging ConocoPhillips tanker spills 1,500 gallons onto 20 miles of the Puget Sound.

August 2004
ConocoPhillips fined $485,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act at drilling platforms at the Cook River Inlet, AK. Over a 5 year period there had been 470 violations of the rig’s National Pollution Discharge Eliminations System Permit, and six unauthorized discharges of pollutants.

March, 2004
ConocoPhillips fined $80,000 for violations of the Clean Air Act at the Alpine oil field.

January, 2003
BP fined $6,300 for failing to protect workers in an explosion that killer one worker.

December 2002
BP placed on criminal probation for failing to install a leak detection system that could promptly detect spills from the Prudhoe Bay pipeline.

December, 2002
Arctic Utilities Inc. and TDX North Slope Generating Inc. fined $130,000 for violating Clean Air Act at Prudhoe Bay power plant.

November, 2002
60,000 gallons of crude oil spills from pipeline at Prudhoe Bay. Oil spilled into wetlands and into a drinking water lake. BP fined $675,000 for spill cleanup problems.

November 03, 2002
Magnitude 7.3 earthquake shakes the pipeline along the Denali Fault. Several vertical support columns are damaged, but the pipeline remains intact.

June, 2002
BP fined $300,000 for delays in installing leak detection systems for Prudhoe Bay crude oil transmission lines.

March, 2002
Houston/Nana, a North Slope contractor, fined $67,500 for failing to report 142 instances of worker injuries or illnesses from 1999 to 2001.

February, 2002
BP fined $22 million and given 5 years probation for late reporting of hazardous waste dumping in Endicott, AK wells.

October, 2001
A drunken hunter shot the Trans-Alaska Pipeline north of Fairbanks, AK and caused a spill of over 285,000 gallons of crude oil.

April 15, 2001
92,000 gallons of processed water (1% crude oil) spilled from a Phillips pipeline that leaked due to external corrosion.

April, 2001
BP fined $412,500 for failing to properly analyze discharges from Prudhoe Bay Central Sewage Treatment Facility from 1996 to 2000.

December, 2000
Ruptured pipeline at Prudhoe Bay spills 9,400 gallons of crude oil and 2,100 gallons of methanol onto the tundra. The spill is not discovered by BP until February of 2001.

April, 1998
Doyon Drilling, contracted by BP, fined $3 million for dumping hazardous wastes down Endicott, AK wells.


Facts: North Slope Oil Development: Air and Water Pollution, Spills and Industry Sprawl

BP North Slops Spill Reveals a History of Substandard Environmental Performance

Recent Oil Company Fines and Penalties in the North Slope Oilfields

American Experience: The Alaska Pipeline
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