BP's Alaska Pipelines on Verge of Collapse

At least 148 have received an F-rank due to corrosion
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2010 5:31 AM CDT
Corrosion Threatens BP's Alaska Pipelines
This undated photo provided by the Alaska Department of Conservation shows a failed 6-inch lateral pipeline.    (AP Photo/Alaska Department of Conservation)

BP's vast network of pipelines in Alaska has been left in a sorry state by severe corrosion, according to an internal maintenance report obtained by ProPublica. At least 148 BP pipelines on Alaska's North Slope have received an "F-rank'," which BP workers say means at least 80% of percent of the pipe wall is corroded and could rupture. Many of the lines carry flammable or toxic materials through pipes a small fraction of an inch from bursting.

BP says it has "an aggressive and comprehensive pipeline inspection and maintenance program," but workers complain that the company hasn't been spending enough to keep up with the pipes' decline or to replace outdated warning systems. "They're going to run this out as far as they can without leaving one dollar on the table when they leave," one BP mechanic and welder says. Several employees warn that tanks holding hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic fluids are at risk of collapse.
(Read more Alaska stories.)

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