There has been another spill of crude oil and produced water at Prudhoe Bay. The Trans Alaska Pipeline was shut down for maintenance over the weekend, and during pressure testing a valve blew where it runs under a road at BP’s Lisburne field. Liquids sprayed out and got into a tundra pond there, as well as the gravel pad. Recovery efforts were underway Sunday.
The latest accident happened even as BP was presenting its latest proposals for safety and spill prevention precautions to federal officials in hopes of being allowed to resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon blowout.
A ban was lifted in October, but not for BP. Since then, U.S. regulators have issued 68 permits for 20 deepwater wells in the Gulf. Houston-based Noble Energy received the first of these in late February for a project in which the largest stake is held by BP, but the company itself has yet to receive approval for any new well drilling projects.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich told a congressional hearing that BP knows it has to prove it can operate safely following last year’s spill. “BP has been through a lot,” he said, adding the company is going to have to “win back not only regulators’ confidence, but the public’s confidence as well.”
Bureau officials said there is no agreement or accord in place with BP to allow it to resume offshore drilling, and cautioned that the announcement was BP’s alone. Bromwich said last month that BP’s applications for permission to drill in the Gulf would be treated on their own merits and would not be prejudiced by last year’s events.