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Pipelines used by British company BP in Alaska are plagued by corrosion, risking an explosion or spill, according to an internal BP report made public by US research site ProPublica.
According to this independent news agency, BP employees and contractors in Alaska say the facilities there were built in the 1970s to operate for about 15 years. However, when the company realized there was far more oil to be had, it extended the operation for several more decades, without properly inspecting the oil pipelines. This risks a leak or even a major explosion, states ProPublica.
At least 148 BP pipelines received an "F-rank" from the company, which means that over 80 per cent of the pipe wall is corroded and could rupture.
While this information was denied by BP spokespeople who said that the company wouldn´t be operating if safety conditions weren´t met, workers of the company confirmed the risks and said to ProPublica that the company´s warning systems are unreliable, that the turbines that pump oil and gas are aging, and that some oil and waste holding tanks are on the verge of collapse.
The workers support their claims with photographs that show the bad condition of the pipelines.
In 2006, there were two oil spills caused by corroded pipes, which placed the company’s operations in the national spotlight. The same happened early this year, when an oil platform managed by BP which was operating in the Gulf of Mexico caused one of the largest environmental disasters in the history of the US.
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