BP mopping up after oil spill on North Slope

Cause of crude spill remains unknown

Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2000

PRUDHOE BAY - BP is working to clean up a crude oil spill and a related chemical spill at a North Slope oil processing center.

About 29,400 gallons of mixed crude oil and water overflowed from a settling tank early Monday. All of the spill was contained in a lined cell surrounding an oil tank and the surrounding tundra was not contaminated, BP spokesman Paul Laird said.

"We don't know the cause of the spill yet," Laird said.

The incident occurred at a processing facility where oil, water and gas are separated from the crude after it comes out of the ground. In addition to the mixed crude oil and water, ethylene glycol was spilled inside the processing facility at about the same time. The spill also was contained in a lined cell and did not contaminate the ground.

"There's a sense that the two spills were linked but we haven't determined that for sure," Laird said.

No one was injured in either incident.

BP and a spill response contractor were cleaning up the spills with a vacuum truck.

The center normally processes about 80,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Production was reduced to about 25,000 barrels while the investigation into the spills continued, Laird said.

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