BP took the decision to continue production from the Prudhoe Bay western operating area (WOA), following review of new inspection data of pipelines in this area and after extensive consultations with state and federal regulators. Current production is about 150,000 barrels of oil and natural gas liquids per day. That production will increase to about 200,000 barrels per day as Gathering Center 1 ramps up to full production after completion of a planned maintenance shutdown.
BP has now completed 2,200 ultrasonic inspections in the WOA since March and will continue round-the-clock visual and infrared surveillance of the line to assure continued safe operations. Overnight, the cleanup team continued oil recovery efforts in the Flow Station 2 transit line spill in the East Operating Area. More than 17 barrels of oil have been recovered, and the process is continuing. The team is now using water flood techniques to lift remaining amounts of oil from the tundra. This involves booming off the area immediately surrounding the spill, then pumping in water from a nearby lake to flood the area. Oil is then recovered as it floats on the water. This process will be repeated several times today to maximize the amount of oil that is recovered.
Ten metal sleeves will be required over sections of EOA pipeline showing corrosion damage. Seven of those have now been installed, with three remaining sleeves to be delivered and installed today.
BP has completed its orders for 16 miles of pipeline to replace existing transit lines at Prudhoe Bay. The pipe will be supplied by US mills with anticipated delivery in the fourth quarter of 2006.
BP's West Coast refining and marketing system remains adequately supplied in the short term and no disruptions of crude or fuel supplies are expected at this time.
BP, to date, has purchased more than 4.5 million barrels of crude on the global market to help cover the shortfall in Prudhoe Bay output. Additional crude oil and refined products will be acquired as necessary.