A rupture at a BP pipeline closed for maintenance spilled 4200 gallons of a mixture of methanol and oily water onto the Alaskan tundra over the weekend.
According to Reuters, the spill was discovered Saturday night at the Lisburne oil fields. It not only poses a threat to the fragile ecosystem but raises concerns once again about safety issues around oil fields. Last year, a BP deep water rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and sent some 5 million gallons of crude oil into the gulf before being stopped.
Earlier this month, a pipeline owned by Exxon ruptured and poured tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez accident spilled 750,000 barrels of crude oil into Prince William Sound.
In March of 2006, more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled at BPs Prudhoe Bay pipeline. It was not until May of this year that BP agreed to pay $25 million in damages in that incident. Shortcuts to safety measures were blamed.
And last May, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, owned mainly by BP, spilled several thousand barrels of crude oil after a power outage during a safety check opened several valves.
Just last Friday, BP announced it is working to improve safety standards as it resumes deep water drilling again in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We believe the commitments we have outlined today will promote greater levels of safety and preparedness in deepwater drilling,” said BP CEO Bob Dudley in a company statement.