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BP Officials Testify on Pipeline Leakage

British Petroleum in Alaska officials fielded questions at a House hearing on the factors that forced them to shut down pipelines at Prudhoe Bay and what caused a large-scale spill.

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  • STEVE MARSHALL, President, BP Exploration Alaska:

    These spills occurred on my watch. And, as president, I'm in charge of the overall business in Alaska. And the buck stops with me.


    Facing both congressional and criminal investigations, British Petroleum executives took the blame today for the North Slope of Alaska's largest oil spill and the partial shutdown last month of their massive Prudhoe Bay oil field, the country's largest.

    BOB MALONE, Chairman & President, BP America: BP America's recent operating failures are unacceptable. They have fallen short of what you and the American people expect from BP, and they have fallen short of what we expect of ourselves.


    BP's problems began in March, when more than 200,000 gallons of oil leaked from a pipeline crossing the Alaskan tundra. Subsequent inspections found a smaller leak and significant corrosion.

    BP Responded by closing 16 miles of pipelines in August, halting more than half of its 400,000 barrels of daily oil production, which counts for 8 percent of U.S. domestic oil output. Today, company executives took a pounding before members of the House Energy Committee, as they were accused of neglecting routine inspection of their pipelines.

    REP. GREG WALDEN (R), Oregon: BP's current marketing slogan is beyond petroleum. Unfortunately, it could also stand for broken pipelines.

    REP. EDWARD MARKEY (D), Massachusetts: Today, we are finding that BP stands for a company with bloated profits that failed to fix bad pipelines.


    The BP executives acknowledged that a larger portion of the $22 billion profit BP made last year should have been devoted to pipeline safety.

    BP Alaska president Steve Marshall said they're making the necessary corrections today.


    Both spills have been fully cleaned up. We have received a number, several comments from external sources about the quality of that cleanup. And we believe, at this point, there will be no lasting damage to the environment.