Energy experts have long raised concerns about the rapid deterioration of the oil industry's Alaskan pipelines -- much of them owned and controlled by BP. Industry analysts have said that any spills arising from defective pipes would probably disrupt the industry's ability to meet consumer demands -- leading, in turn, to higher gas prices at the pump.
That scenario may now be coming to pass. A leak described by BP spokesman Steve Rinehart as "significant" at a pumping station at Alaska's North Slope has forced the closure of a pipeline that transports an estimated 12 percent of America's oil.
According to the AP: "The 800-mile (1,300-kilometer) trans-Alaska pipeline, which normally carries between 630,000 and 650,000 barrels a day, was shut Saturday after a leak was discovered at a North Slope pump station, said Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., which manages the line. North Slope production was reduced to 5 percent of normal." The leak was contained, but normal operations remained on holdRead More »from Leak forces BP to shut down Alaskan pipeline