Anchorage— BP recently completed replacement of four field crude oil transit pipelines in Prudhoe Bay, and all segments of new pipe sections are now in operation, a company spokesman reported.
OT 28, a 5-mile section of 28-inch pipe, and OT 18, 5 miles of 18-inch pipe — the final two sections to be completed and tested — went into operation Dec. 12 and Dec. 23. Two other segments completed and put into operation earlier last year were OT 21, a 3-mile section of 20-inch pipe, and OT 12, a 3-mile section of 12-inch pipe.
BP began the replacement project in late 2006, after corrosion-related spills occurred in existing larger-diameter pipe sections built in 1977, when the Prudhoe Bay field first went into operation. The project employed as many as 700 construction workers at the peak of construction activity.
The project included installation of new pipe, pig-launching facilities, corrosion inhibitor-injection facilities, as well as metering and electrical equipment.
All pipe sections have state-of-the-art leak detection systems, but one segment also has an experimental low-level leak detection system that can detect very small quantities of hydrocarbon fluids on the outside of the pipe wall.