Just how much liquid escaped from the line remains under
investigation by BP and Alaska's Department of Environmental
It remains unclear whether the leak, detected earlier this week, is
connected to a decline in North Slope oil production. BP did not
return emails seeking comment.
Since the spill occurred, daily North Slope production has dropped
about 10,000 barrels per day, from 533,000 to 521,000, according to
state tracking data.
As of Saturday, however, two days before an inspector discovered the
problem, production was at 551,000, according to Alaska's Department
The production figures include five major fields, the largest of
which is Prudhoe Bay.
The leak comes nearly eight years after BP had to order Prudhoe
operations to be partially shut down when a transit line leak
discharged about 200,000 gallons of oil.
And it comes four years after the fatal Macondo well explosion in
the Gulf of Mexico, in which BP was the operator.
For the current incident BP has a 40-person crew working during the
day and about 20 at night, mainly using shovels and brooms.
This time of year that area receives nearly 20 hours of daylight.
[to top of second column]
BP discovered the leak during a routine investigation on Monday
afternoon, according to an Alaska DEC report.
A few hours after discover the line was depressurized to stop the
leak, the state report said.
(Reporting by Steven Quinn; editing by Terry Wade and Lisa Shumaker)
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