Prudhoe Bay output could restart imminently

13-09-2006

The Prudhoe Bay pipeline could restart oil output imminently, BP said yesterday.

Robert Malone, BP America president, announced the news during BP's second hearing in front of a Senate committee.

Mr Malone told the energy and natural resources committee that the BP aimed to return to full output by the end of October.

BP has been pumping less than half of the usual 400,000 capacity while it replaces 16 miles of pipelines.

BP halted partial production on the pipeline after experts cited corrosion fears.

Mr Malone said BP wished to restart production at the eastern half of Prudhoe Bay, the largest producing oil field in the US, later this week.

Yesterday, committee members dragged BP over the coals for the spillage of 2,800 barrels on the Alaskan North Slope in March, with chairman Pete Domenici describing the pipeline problems in Alaska as "inexcusable".

He went on to say the oil accident was a "black eye on BP and the American people".

BP must face another two congressional hearings over the incident.

It faces a grilling from the transportation and infrastructure committee today.

When fully operational the Prudhoe Bay oilfield accounts for eight per cent of US oil production and 2.6 per cent of US supply.


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