SAFETY OF ALASKAN OIL LINE 'IN QUESTION' REPORT FINDS|
September 25, 1999
Michael Sean Gillard, Melissa Jones, and Andrew Rowell , The Guardian
The safety of the ageing Alaskan oil
pipeline owned mainly by BP Amoco is
"in question", an internal report has found.
The report, presented this week to the US
congress and government regulators, is a
response to and confirmation of many
allegations made by six Alyeska
whistleblowers which the Guardian
investigated and published last July.
The whistleblowers had written to BP
Amoco chief executive SirJohn Browne
warning of an "imminent threat" to human
life and the environment from irresponsible
oil operations in Alaska - the scene 10
years ago of the Exxon Valdez
Their letter contained evidence of falsified
safety and inspection records and
persistent violations of government laws to
protect the fragile Alaskan environment.
The whistleblowers called for an
"independent audit". Alyeska, the
company which manages the 800 mile
pipeline for an oil consortium including
Exxon and Mobil, rejected this claiming it
was already heavily regulated. Instead it
commissioned consultants to investigate.
In the report Alyeska also admits that the
quality programme, integral to pipeline
safety, has not been consistently
There were "numerous examples" where
problems had resulted in either "no action
or untimely corrective actions".
The whistleblowers' concerns were known
to senior executives but overlooked.
The organisation of crucial engineering
design drawings is "weak", which prevents
employees doing their job safely and
The report appeared in the same week
that BP was fined after pleading guilty to
dumping toxic waste in Alaska.
BP did not immediately inform the
regulator of its drilling contractor's actions
and must now pay US$22m (£14m) in
settlement and reparations.
Alyeska president, Bob Malone, a BP
executive, told the Guardian: "I am not
satisfied with the amount of time that it
has taken to address issues. We're
making improvements, but the most
difficult task I have is changing the
The Guardian has learned that a new
whistleblower yesterday wrote to the US
congress and the vice president, Al Gore,
outlining the harassment by a senior
executive when she raised "ethical
concerns" about alleged improper tax
practices and mismanagement of the
employees' saving and investment plan.
Alyeska has also been made aware of the allegations.
NewsUnlimited-- NewsUnlimited Website include The Guardian and The Observer
BP-Amoco-- BP-Amoco Website
Alyeska-- Alyeska Pipeline