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Archive for Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oil field shutdown may last several days

October 12, 2006

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— America's largest oil field will produce very few barrels over the next several days as operator BP scrambles to fix an electrical problem.

So far, the loss of 300,000 barrels a day of Alaskan output has not rattled oil markets.

BP PLC said electrical shorts that shut down Prudhoe Bay on Tuesday followed three days of dust storms, and then rain, coating insulators on high-voltage lines with mud.

The London-based company, which has faced intense criticism following two oil leaks in Alaska over the past seven months, said the shutdown of its power system was not a reflection of aging infrastructure.

BP spokesman Daren Beaudo pinned the problem on a "highly unusual weather event," partly attributable to the lack of snow in the region.

The trans-Alaska pipeline also shut down on Monday, but was brought back on line Tuesday afternoon.

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