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BP Alaska: A ticking Time Bomb?

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posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 08:21 PM
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This blog post by Anderson Cooper is all about another BP insider blowing the whistle on what seems like the next likely BP disaster...



“Where do I begin?”

That’s what I asked myself this week as I found myself sitting in my office at CNN in New York City with a mountain of documents in front of me. Hundreds of documents that were given to us from a BP Alaska employee named Marc Kovac. It was up to my producer, Susan Chun, and me to make sense of it all.

Kovac has been with BP since 1977. He started when he was just 24. Today he builds compressors for them but he worked on the pipelines for 18 years on Alaska’s North Slope. Kovac first shared his story with the blog, TruthOut.Org, and when we called him he had plenty more to say.




posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 10:09 PM
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Unless you live up here, or have worked for the industry like I have -- you guys really are going to sound like idiots jumping to conclusions over one disgruntled employee.

I've seen the asinine hoops the industry here (first hand and followed the protocols) to save the environment from any damage.

They place containment buckets under any parked vehicle. Foot trafic is not permitted anywhere off the gravel drill pads or roads (unless you are an Alaskan Native).

Gravel ramps have been built for caribou to "walk over" the pipelines that connect the gathering centers. The caribou simply walk under the pipes


I'm replying to this because I have worked at Prudhoe Bay -- and found some of the safety/environmental procedures almost overkill.

Each employee for any company that works up there has to undergo NSTC (North Slope Training Cooperative) training. This isn't just an afternoon class, but rather a boot camp to prepare people for the serious responsibility of working in such a sensitive/harsh environment.

Is any individual perfect? There always are "slacker" employees...

Most people that work there love this state, live here, and depend on the industry to enable them to support their families.

I'm so sick of people in the lower 48 who read an opinion here or there, think they know what it's really like up here and run their mouths.

Just because *you* lower-48'ers screwed up with mining and oil in the last 100 years doesn't mean we haven't learned and want to do things better.

The tip of the spear for oil spill response is here, in Alaska. After the Exxon Valdez, the big oil companies began to use Alaska as a test-bed for some of the most high-tech anti-spill technologies in the world.

And by the way, the Exxon Valdez was human error ... not a faulty piece of hardware (like the blow out preventers on the Deep Water rig).

Right now, Shell is not able to continue with it's off-shore drilling here in AK due to the moratorium of off-shore drilling. We are talking 200-300 feet of water here, not a mile. That is 800 jobs lost to a state with 650,000 residents. Not some drop in the bucket.

Come to Alaska, take the free tour (which after working there *and* taking the tour, is comprehensive).

Then, maybe then, you can arm-chair-expert your opinions



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 10:41 PM
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reply to post by HunkaHunka
 


A little digging beyond one employee comments to CNN shows this:
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"The reports detailing BP's Alaska investigations -- conducted by outside lawyers and an internal BP committee in 2001, 2004 and 2007 -- were provided to ProPublica by a person close to BP who believes the company has not yet done enough to eradicate its shortcomings."

"A 2001 report noted that BP had neglected key equipment needed for emergency shutdown, including safety shutoff valves and gas and fire detectors similar to those that could have helped prevent the fire and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf."

"A 2004 inquiry found a pattern of intimidating workers who raised safety or environmental concerns. It said managers were shaving maintenance costs with the practice of "run to failure," under which aging equipment was used as long as possible. Accidents resulted, including the 200,000-gallon Prudhoe Bay pipeline spill in 2006, the largest ever spill on Alaska's North Slope."

Source: www.alaskadispatch.com...
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And the 48 report conducted by outside lawyers and BP's own internal committee, is a very interesting one, and worth the read if you have the time.

Source: www.propublica.org...



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 10:43 PM
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Duplicate Post- reason unknown -------------------------------------------------------


[edit on 23-6-2010 by manta78]



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 10:55 PM
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I happen to know a private engineer who is heading up x-ray inspections of a large team for corrosion control up there right now...it's a big job, several teams are dispatched at any given time for the hundreds of miles of pipe.

The pipes up there are made of carbon steel, not stainless. Stainless would have cost 10 times the price to build. No one uses stainless for oil! Corrosion control is a constant worry up there.

Despite what you may "cite" -- I've been into the facilities, cleaned them...talked to managers, talked to the grunts...

Usually these claims are over exaggerated due to being passed up for a promotion, or not getting a raise. Honestly. The media loves to latch onto them, however.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 10:59 PM
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reply to post by MystikMushroom
 


Did you read the 48 page report as prepared by outside lawyers
and BP internal staff?

BP has a history of irresponsible and reckless behavior as a company, and no amount of "fluff" from you is going to make that go away, sorry.

[edit on 23-6-2010 by manta78]



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:00 PM
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BTW...

The "sources" you used are widely known in Alaska as very anti-industry and pro-environmental. Certainly not un-biased.

Just because you can find a source to support you on the internet, does not make it a balanced source of information.

Listen, I have some qualms with the industry and some of their practices myself. I am not a 100% pro-development supporter. I just want to bring the voice of reason from an actual ex-employee who has seen first-hand the area in discussion.

This place is my home, and any kind of destruction is a concern to me. I 'm 2nd generation Alaskan. I don't want to live anywhere else. (You guys can keep the lower 48 btw).

If I can sleep at night and not worry about the CGF (central gas facility) or one of the GC's (gathering centers) exploding ... I think you all down south should as well.

There are Alaskans up here that hate the oil companies -- but they still gladly collect their PFD check from the State each year. Just like how Greenpeace wears petrochemical clothing (gore-tex?) and burns disel in their boats...these environmentalists still benefit from the State of Alaska's oil revenue.

You can't have your cake and eat it too!

*edit* Added sentiments to my reasonable nature



[edit on 23-6-2010 by MystikMushroom]



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:05 PM
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It's funny...

One of the weeks I was up there a guy got fired, sent home that same day for pouring out his coffee on the ground.

Now, this guy wasn't someone that was hated or "had it coming" -- If I would have been stupid enough to do the same thing and been seen.......well, I'd have been sent packing too.

No joke, no lie.

They don't play around up there.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:12 PM
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Originally posted by MystikMushroom
BTW...

The "sources" you used are widely known in Alaska as very anti-industry and pro-environmental. Certainly not un-biased.

Just because you can find a source to support you on the internet, does not make it a balanced source of information.

Listen, I have some qualms with the industry and some of their practices myself. I am not a 100% pro-development supporter. I just want to bring the voice of reason from an actual ex-employee who has seen first-hand the area in discussion.

There are Alaskans up here that hate the oil companies -- but they still gladly collect their PFD check from the State each year. Just like how Greenpeace wears petrochemical clothing (gore-tex?) and burns disel in their boats...these environmentalists still benefit from the State of Alaska's oil revenue.

You can't have your cake and eat it too!



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ok I can see you did not read the 48 page report or you would know
that BP (internal) management employees were involved in its
production, as well as outside lawyers.

I will also make a prediction that outside lawyers from both the government and the private sector, in the near future, will be using records from the BP spills before and after the Exxon Valdez, such as the BP 2006 Prudhoe Bay pipeline spill, as evidence of BP's continued disregard for safety.

But as ex-employee and probably a share holder in the company, I can understand your position of trying to minimize the situation, even if you are wrong.



posted on Jun, 24 2010 @ 12:03 AM
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Oh I never worked for BP. Rather a contracting company hired to do maintenance.

The problem is -- the Prudhoe Bay oil field's life expectancy has been again and again extended.

With the advent of new tech to discover new, smaller reserves -- the profit is still there for BP (which is simply an operator, not the sole/exclusive lease holder).

The pipes are old, the gear is old. The companies contracted by BP are doing exactly what they are told to do.

Could BP spend more money on PM (preventative maintenance)? Always -- they could always spend more.

Do I always believe they spend the amounts they need to? Not necessarily.

The men and women that work up there do a damned good job, and if their hands are tied by executives and share-holders...that is beyond my scope.

I just want to interject before this gets blown WAY out of proportion by people that have never even set foot in Alaska -- let alone the oil fields what it's really like.

I have no current ties to any oil or construction/contracting company. I left that behind almost 8 years ago.

Funny...I like how the media uses "gallons" instead of barrels when it comes to TAPS leaks. "800 gallons of oil leaked...". Deliberate distortion by using a smaller unit of measure!

Now this leak in the gulf -- this pisses me off! This could have not only been prevented, but fixed within days.

Let me state this now. BP is not on my list of favorite people -- but when someone starts talking about my home ... especially a place I've spent time at -- I will speak up!

Valid concerns, but not nearly as alarming as you claim to make them.



posted on Jun, 24 2010 @ 12:18 AM
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Originally posted by MystikMushroom
Oh I never worked for BP. Rather a contracting company hired to do maintenance.



I doubt your contracting company was ever at fault for one of the largest disasters ever created by man.

So I wouldn't go thinking "too less" about this so called "disgruntled worker".

After all...he just may have seen more then a contracting companies' "daily work" or a firing over spilt coffee.

I wouldn't turn a blind eye to this report...even IF Cooper is the guy delivering it.

Thanks for your "expertise", but I think it has little to do with BP's secret practices.

I personally believe that BP will serve as a scapegoat to take all the major damages and then be bankrupted and then dismantled.

So I won't be shocked to see any number of whistle-blowers emerge to bring BP's crimes/negligence to light to help the process along.

You say we will look like "idiots" discussing this matter.

I say- "only an Idiot would assume any of these companies as innocent or safe".












[edit on 24-6-2010 by Mr Mask]



posted on Jun, 25 2010 @ 12:04 AM
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I never claimed to be an expert with "expertise"...

Now, having established that...

After the Exxon Valdez, as I previously stated -- the oil companies used Alaska as a test bed for new oil spill response technologies.

I have *NO* idea why the men and women of my state aren't being tasked by BP to help. (well, a handfull are...)

Let me put it bluntly -- Prudhoe Bay's life expectancy was never envisioned to be producing what it still is today.

The fact we haven't had a major disaster is a testament to our Alaskan workforce, doing hard jobs to the best of their ability in one of the harshest environments on Earth.

Imagine working in a place that gets less than an hour of sunlight a year (in winter), with wind-chill factors of -100F and blizzard conditions. That is 9 months of reality for those folks that bring you your oil.

It really is, like living on Mars up there. Some of the engineering feats to make that oil field posible were looked into by NASA for future Moon/Mars missions. Oil companies had the money to develop the tech, NASA didn't.

I highly encourage anyone here to take a trip and visit the North Slope -- it's quite amazing. It really does (im a huge sci-fi fan) look like a colony on a distant planet.

I think one thing keeping it all together is the excellent job the State of Alaska regulators do keeping BP and other "operators" in check. Beyond federal permits, these companies have to comply with state regulations (which here are tougher than the Federal ones).

There is a fine line. Make the requirements to stringent, the cost/profit ratio isn't appealing. Make the regulations/requirements to lax -- disasters and reckless environmental damage happens.

It's a line our state politicians debate endless over up here. It gets very tiresome to have to hear over and over...but I'm glad they do it.




Ah...the good old BOC (Base Operation Center) ... Notice it is off the ground, not only to minimize environmental impact, but more importantly to allow the wind to flow under it. If it sat on the ground proper, snow drifts would engulf the building.

That is BP's main HQ on the oil field in discussion. It is actually much larger than this picture -- several more buildings you cannot see.

*edit to add photo*

[edit on 25-6-2010 by MystikMushroom]



posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 09:10 PM
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I found this video on the next bp oil spill in Alaska

www.brasschecktv.com...



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