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News // Ecology

BP Accused Of Spill Incidents

29 March 2005 , 13:17641
Alaska regulators claimed that oil and gas giant BP and its contractor twice failed to report spills of drilling fluids at the Prudhoe Bay oil field, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The regulators recommended the state's attorney general seek corrective action, the report said.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said neither officials of BP nor its contractor, Nabors Industries Ltd., reported spills exceeding 55 gallons each that took place July 31, 2003, and Dec. 5, 2004. The state requires oil companies to report any spill exceeding that level.

In January, workers at the scene alerted Charles Hamel, a frequent oil-industry critic, who disclosed the unreported spills on his Web site, the Journal said.

Workers had originally described the incidents as blowouts, which are more damaging than spills, but a separate investigation by the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission recently concluded they weren't large enough to qualify as blowouts.

Investigators said the drilling fluids didn't pose an environmental threat.

BP officials said they didn't report the spills because those involved didn't believe they were required to do so.


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