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UpstreamOnline.com: Alaska officials launch BP well probe

EXTRACT: It shut off a further 12 wells this week after unnamed employees told the Financial Times newspaper that the company was operating leaking wells near its Prudhoe Bay facility.

The Article

By Upstream staff

Alaskan state officials have started inspections of 57 BP-operated wells on Alaska’s North Slope that were shut down over concerns that they were leaking oil-based insulation fluids, it was reported.

An inspector from the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission began examining the integrity of wells thought to be affected by the leaks, Commissioner Cathy Foerster, told the Associated Press in Anchorage. She said the investigation would include other wells if necessary and was independent of BP’s internal investigation.

Foester said the agency had no information that any of the wells had leaked oil onto the Arctic Tundra or that BP had not operated the well properly, the report said. She said the probe would be managed by an independent investigator hired several months ago, following complaints that state regulators were too lenient on oil companies.

BP said this week it had closed down 37 of the 57 wells earlier over concerns that oil-based insulation products were leaking into containment cellars around wells and had shut down another eight to optimise production.

It shut off a further 12 wells this week after unnamed employees told the Financial Times newspaper that the company was operating leaking wells near its Prudhoe Bay facility.

BP officials welcome the state investigation. “We are anxious to get to the bottom of this and to find any problems if there are some,” BP spokesman Steve Rinehart said.

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