Pipeline Update

Oh great. Now BP is saying it could be closed for months:

BP PLC said Monday it will replace 73 percent of the pipelines from the nation’s largest oil field and that it could be closed for weeks or months, crimping the nation’s oil supplies at a time of peak demand.
BP, the world’s second-largest oil company, began shutting down the pipelines on Monday and said it would replace 16 miles of the 22 miles of transit pipeline in the Prudhoe Bay field following a leak discovered Sunday.
Company officials told a news conference they did not immediately know how much it would cost to replace the lines. They will continue to keep the oil field closed and bring parts back into service once it’s safe to do so.

73 freakin’ percent?
Not good.

13 Responses to “Pipeline Update”

  1. Cindermutha says:

    That is soooo not good. I wonder if I can make this tank of gas last until they fix it.

  2. Let’s send Ebola up there!

  3. Mike Rentner says:

    I’m always amazed at people who design things without redundancy. Who in their right mind would build a pipeline, make a good chunk of the economy dependent on it, and have one long continuous point of failure?
    I’ve worked in factories that have had to shut down permanently because they failed to understand this obvious defect.
    Why didn’t they make two pipes, so they can continue to operate one while fixing the other?
    Someday they’ll figure out how to make highways like that too, so we aren’t impacted by the constant maintenance that is always underway.

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    I’m with ya’ Mike. I mean, how much more would it have cost, really, to big a second pipeline parralell to the first? I can’t help but think that it would only have been a fraction more.

  5. The_Real_JeffS says:

    A dual Alaskan pipeline is nice in concept, but still would have been pretty expensive, even while building it. Remember — the pipeline goes through a wilderness, to which almost everything must be shipped from the lower 48. Everything was built from scratch; the material and labor costs would have been almost doubled.
    Usually a pipeline network is built, so that flows can be re-routed in case of a failure. That isn’t the case here.
    And, to be blunt, redundancy hurts the profit margin. So does maintenance — why do you think this pipeline is in the condition that it is? Deferred maintenance helps the short term profits, but inevitably screws the long term revenue, unless you plan on abandoning in place.
    One thing is for sure — those repairs are going to be laden with environmental restricitons and safeguards that will certainly increase the costs. In that regards, BP would have been far better off to make repairs long ago.
    OTOH, the State of Alaska will probably expedite repairs as fast as possible….virtually all of their revenue comes from oil sales. Enough so that Alaska residents get a check every year for the surplus income.

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    Materials, close to doubled for sure, and labor costs would have been more, but certainly not twice. The main cost would be the initial clearing; to blaze a 20′ wide road instead of a 10′ road doesn’t cost twice as much.
    I don’t think…
    regardless, it’s all spilt oil in the sound now…

  7. The_Real_JeffS says:

    …labor costs would have been more, but certainly not twice…
    Twice. Double the welds, double the nut & bolt tightening, hauling and placing pipe, etc. Labor is time, time is labor. You either have the same crew do the job twice, or have two crews working simultaneously. It was a union job, as I recall. Oh, and room & board…..man’s gotta eat and sleep, y’know.
    The only cost reduction (theoretically) would be supervision and administration; you don’t need two sets of bosses.
    OTOH, I recall there were questions about the wages paid during the original construction, and that people were overcharging. For example, people routinely claimed 168 hours of paid work a week. That’s 7 days * 24 hours/day = 168 hours, by the way. If so, honest time cards might have saved enough money to build two pipelines.

  8. The_Real_JeffS says:

    PS: Yes, it’s all spilt oil now.

  9. According to the ABC Evening News, federal inspectors up north for a spill

    In March, a BP transit line in the North Slope spilled 267,000 gallons of oil. It was a month before BP was able to install a bypass on that line to resume operations. BP is currently under criminal investigation for that spill.

    …were stunned when they found out during the course of the investigation that BP hadn’t inspected the pipeline in over seven years.

    “I’ve been telling people, BP stands for big problems,” Flynn said. “If this were their first or second incident, people could say it’s bad luck … but it seems like there’s a systemic problem from top to bottom.”

    What a mess. And there was nothing they could hammer them with because inspections weren’t mandated.

    “BP Exploration Alaska Inc. began shutting down 400,000 barrels of daily oil production Sunday at Prudhoe Bay, in Alaska’s North Slope region, due to severe corrosion on a pipeline.”

    Severe doesn’t happen over the course of the summer ~ it takes years. They said the pain will be worse on the West Coast becasue that’s where the bulk of the oil hits refineries, but could really hurt everyone soon because in 5 weeks, it starts getting cold. REAL cold. And you can’t work on a pipeline when it’s gazillion below and a 90 mph gale.
    *The quotes are from the linked story and the extra tidbits from the report, which I haven’t tracked down to link to yet.

  10. Mike Rentner says:

    How much would a redundant system cost? Hmmm. How much does shutting down the entire system for an extended period cost?
    The oil industry developed RCM, Reliability Centered Maintenance. I used that system when I worked at Apple Computer. We reduced factory down time from the typical 8% to 10% to about 0.1% down time. It’s not magic, it’s based on the same type of analysis, FMEA (failure modes effect analysis) that has been popular for a long time (modern Marines would recognize it as Operational Risk Management), but combined with a special understanding of maintenance theory.
    So far, BP seems to have done the right type of reactions. They’ve discovered a problem, shut the system down to prevent a bigger environmental problem, and cleaned up the small spill. So far kudos. It’s just a shame that a longer term solution wasn’t in place to prevent the effects of the failure.

  11. KG says:

    While redundency is the ideal, I’d still prefer this crappy scenario over a breaking news report that a pipeline has broken open in the middle of Alaska because of poor care.
    If only because the lefties would be going psycho – destruction of the enviroment, evil big business, and a RINO in the White House.

  12. Is anyone watching for used-to-the-cold Afghani al-Qaeda members creeping across the tundra or joining the work crews during this moment of weakness?
    I sure hope so.

  13. Mr. Bingley says:

    You’re not calling for profiling, are you Sis?

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