BP pipeline fubar fallout continues

Oil giant BP is weathering a ginormous poopstorm over its discovery of severe corrosion in an Alaskan oil pipeline and subsequent announcement that it would shut down its entire Prudhoe Bay oil field — 8 percent of total U.S. production — while it repaired the damage, which could take until January 2007. Alaska governor Frank Murkowski, whose state could lose $6.4 million a day from the shutdown and has instituted a total hiring freeze, questioned why BP needed to shut down the entire field, a move he called “precipitous,” and pledged to hold BP accountable for damages to the state. Federal regulators blasted BP for poor maintenance of the pipeline, and the press revealed that the company had been warned about corrosion as far back as 2004 by employees concerned over cost cutting. Enviros said negligence by allegedly “green” BP demonstrated the folly of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. BP responded to critics by saying it may only shut down half Prudhoe production, and please try not to leave bruises.