The two faces of BP: BP petitions US for more deepwater drilling in the Gulf, cites "Enhanced" safety standards / Meanwhile, a BP oil rig breaks and gets stuck in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

Talk about a double standard. Just as British Petroleum petitions the Obama administration for permission to drill for deepwater oil in the Gulf of Mexico, one of its oil rigs breaks and gets stuck in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. On the one hand, BP says its personnel are well trained and rigs are safer than ever. On the other, BP personnel were not fully prepared for a rig breaking and getting stuck just days ago.

Stage right
: “BP is asking regulators to approve a blueprint for new deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time since its Macondo well blew out last year, triggering the nation’s worst oil spill….Federal regulators broadly signed off on BP’s plans to drill up to five wells at the site in 2008. In the new filing, BP is asking permission to drill two more wells at Kaskida and change the location of two others.”

Stage left: “BP spokesman Steve Rinehart said the rig became stuck in “an inconvenient spot” along Spine Road, a main artery in the network of oil field roads around Prudhoe Bay. Rinehart said the rig became stuck when a wheel broke through the road surface as the rig drove across a section with culverts.”

Bottom line: BP should not be allowed to continue drill operations on US soil until it can prove it can handle simple tasks, such as moving an oil rig to a new location.

Returning to Anchorage, I plan the next step….not going for a small goal this time, I chose Prudhoe Bay as the next stop. The Dalton Highway is a road famous for extremes….weather, distance and the landscape are impressive!

Destination set, hitchhiking from Anchorage to Fairbanks is easy, doing a last run for groceries there, I then try to catch a truck up the road at the Hilltop Café (90% is commercial traffic here…Prudhoe Bay is an important oil industry outpost) - took a time but finally found a trucker willing to give a ride. to Coldfoot. halfway up. :)

Stuck in Coldfoot (truckstop and gas station), there is no more truckrides coming up…a day and a half passes by, waiting and asking around in the endlessly burning sun……

not willing to quit in the perfect weather and with enough food for a week - I finally find my ride!

The wealth generated by Prudhoe Bay and the other fields on the North Slope since 1977 is worth more than all the fish ever caught, all the furs ever trapped, all the trees chopped down; throw in all the copper, whalebone, natural gas, tin, silver, platinum, and anything else ever extracted from Alaska too. The balance sheet of Alaskan history is simple: One Prudhoe Bay is worth more in real dollars than everything that has been dug out, cut down, caught or killed in Alaska since the beginning of time.

Terrence Cole
BP reports another oil spill, this time in Alaska

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Ooops!  Up to 4200 gallons of methanol and oily water were spilled onto Alaskan tundra on Saturday when a pipeline at the Lisburne field ruptured during testing.

This is not on the scale of the Deepwater Horizon spill by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainly won’t help BP repair its image problem in the United States or indeed around the world.

I couldn’t find any photos from the Lisburne spill, so have used one from ANOTHER BP spill back in 2006.  That was in Alaska too, at Prudhoe Bay.