Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Norton Insists Arctic Drilling Safe

January 18, 2002 - Interior Secretary Gale Norton believes there's room for both polar bears and oil drillers in a remote Alaska refuge.

"The Interior Department came to the conclusion that we are committed to protecting polar bears and producing energy in the Arctic Refuge," department spokesman Mark Pfeifle said in an interview. Both career and political staff now agree the bears can be adequately protected, thanks to improvements in oil drilling technology, he said.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006 - BP said on Monday it was shutting down the field for an indefinite period after finding "unexpectedly severe corrosion" on one line and a small oil spill, sending oil prices soaring to record highs.

BP, which is already facing a criminal investigation over a large corrosion-related spill in March at Prudhoe Bay, saw its stock drop several percentage points on the London Stock Exchange after the shutdown announcement, The Associated Press said.

He said approximately four to five barrels of oil had leaked, but the spill had been contained. He said pumping would resume until it was environmentally safe to continue [sic].

BP said tests had revealed 16 anomalies in 12 locations in an oil transit line on the eastern side of the oil field.

According to AP, the oil firm confirmed in June that it had received a subpoena from a U.S. grand jury investigating the March spill at Prudhoe Bay.

Also last week, BP said it would shut down 12 oil wells on Alaska's North Slope as a precaution after whistle blowers alleged more than 50 were leaking, AP said. Most of the closed wells were in Prudhoe Bay.