Monday, August 07, 2006

BP shuts down major Alaskan oil field

Mary Pemberton
(AP)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Oil company BP has indefinitely shut down the nation's biggest oilfield after finding a pipeline leak, removing about 8 percent of U.S. oil production and stoking fears that already high gas prices will shoot up further.

Steve Marshall, president of BP Exploration Alaska Inc., said Sunday night that the eastern side of Prudhoe Bay would be shut down first, an operation anticipated to take 24 to 36 hours. The company will then move to shut down the west side, a move that could close more than 1,000 Prudhoe Bay wells.

Once the field is shut down, BP said oil production will be reduced by 400,000 barrels a day. That's close to 8 percent of U.S. oil production or about 2.6 percent of U.S. supply including imports, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

BP officials said they didn't know how long the Prudhoe Bay field would be off line. "I don't even know how long it's going to take to shut it down," said Tom Williams, BP's senior tax and royalty counsel.

The shutdown comes at an already worrisome time for the oil industry, with supply concerns stemming both from the hurricane season and instability in the Middle East.

A 400,000-barrel per day reduction in output would have a major impact on oil prices, said Tetsu Emori, chief commodities strategist at Mitsui Bussan Futures in Tokyo. A barrel contains 42 gallons of crude oil.

"Oil prices could increase by as much as $10 per barrel given the current environment," Emori said. "But we can't really say for sure how big an effect this is going to have until we have more exact figures about how much production is going to be reduced."

full story...


With oil companies reporting record profits, instead of saddling us with higher fuel prices at the pump, they can pull the extra crude needed from their own asses.
It would appear we have a bunch of 10-year-olds running the show. God help us all...


Buck