Interior urges double-walled pipeline for Liberty project

Posted: Tuesday, January 23, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The U.S. Department of the Interior is urging BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. to consider using a double-walled pipe for its proposed Liberty oil development in the Beaufort Sea.

''The probability of a large spill when using a double-walled pipeline is several times less than is the case with a single-walled pipeline,'' according to a letter from deputy secretary of the Interior David Hayes to BP's Alaska president Richard Campbell.

BP is using a thick, single-walled pipe at its Northstar oil development, several miles west in the Beaufort Sea.

For either type of pipeline, the risk of a spill of greater than 500 barrels is about 1 percent, according to an environmental analysis of the Liberty project.

''The MMS (federal Minerals Management Service) has determined that for both types of pipelines the risk is very small,'' said BP spokesman Ronnie Chappell. ''We think a single walled pipe is appropriate.''

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