Report: criminal investiation under way in North Slope oil spill |

Report: criminal investiation under way in North Slope oil spill

LONDON – U.S. environmental regulators are conducting a criminal investigation into the management of pipelines in Alaska’s North Slope by British energy group BP PLC, a newspaper reported Thursday.An investigation has been under way for several months by officials at the Environmental Protection Agency and was expanded to include a March 2 spill of an estimated 134,000 to 267,000 gallons of crude from a BP-operated pipeline at Prudhoe Bay, The Wall Street Journal reported.London-based BP spokesman Robert Wine said that the company has not been served with any papers or informed of any charges.Wine said that BP cooperated fully with the EPA in the days after the Prudhoe Bay spill, including providing access to the site. There had been no communication between investigators and the company since then, he added.Alaska environmental regulators said Wednesday that an investigation into the spill could result in fines against BP subsidiary BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. of more than $2 million.The Wall Street Journal quoted people familiar with the matter that it did not identify by name as saying that federal investigators are looking at corrosion issues on the ruptured line, as well as others in the area, to determine if BP has committed any violations of the federal Clean Water Act.A Washington-based spokesman for the EPA, Dale Kemery, would neither confirm nor deny the existence of any probe, citing agency policy.BP shares slipped 0.07 percent to $11.82 in midday trading on the London Stock Exchange.

Support Local Journalism