Holy cow, BP is experiencing yet another spill in its North Slope pipeline system:
Officials estimated Wednesday’s spill at more than 7,000 gallons of what’s known as produced water, the water pumped with oil from wells and then separated from crude at processing centers. BP discovered the spill at about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday and reported it to the state Department of Environmental Conservation about an hour later.
A cause has not been determined.
The spill is the second since Sunday involving pipelines managed by BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. The Sunday oil spill is still being cleaned up as well. Officials say they have not pinpointed a cause or estimated the size of that spill.
BP paid $20 million in fines and plead guilty to a misdemeanor environmental crime in connection with two 2006 spills in the pipelines that feed oil from the Prudhoe Bay oil fields into the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
The spills happened in sections of pipe that it was determined were not properly maintained by BP. They also were exempt of federal maintenance regulations, a condition that has since been changed.
It’s not clear if the pipes involved in these two spills fall under the same exemptions since they carry primarily produced water, which is a combination of water, brine and other materials that come out of oil and gas wells.