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BP Says Alaska Oil Production Problems Inflated

Oil major BP has complained to Alaska state officials about the description of at least two oil production disruptions posted on an official state website, a BP spokesman said Wednesday night.

BP spokesman Steve Rinehart said a Tax Division of the Alaska Department of Revenue website's claim that 170,000 barrels per day of oil production was disrupted at the company's giant Prudhoe Bay oil field on Aug. 26 was incorrect.

"There was no shutdown on the 26th. There was a planned reduction in output on the 25th due to planned maintenance on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline," Rinehart said late Wednesday.

The website also said there had been a fire at the Lisburne oil field on Sept. 10, resulting in a loss of 10,000 bpd of oil production for one day.

BP's Rinehart said the incident was not a fire but flaring during pipeline cleaning operations. As a result of the cleaning operation, oil production was temporarily reduced by approximately 6,000 bpd.

Alaska officials said earlier this month they were investigating four separate incidents, including fires at oil fields operated by BP on the North Slope in Alaska.

Oil production in Alaska has been running approximately 9 percent below official state forecasts amid heavy seasonal maintenance at North Slope oil fields.

BP has said the shortfall is due to routine, planned maintenance and otherwise normal summertime production patterns at its fields.

BP's reputation in Alaska, where it operates roughly two-thirds of the state's oil production, was badly tarnished by the discovery of serious undetected corrosion problems in oil transit pipelines at Prudhoe Bay in 2006.

The company is replacing the entire Prudhoe Bay oil transit pipeline system as part of a wider program to overhaul its Alaska operations.

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