U.S. energy chief downplays Alaskan pipeline loss

| Wednesday, August 09, 2006

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman says the country is still in “pretty reasonable shape” in terms of oil supplies, despite the shutdown of a British Petroleum pipeline in Alaska earlier this week.

Bodman told The Associated Press there are ample inventories of crude oil in the system and that more oil can be imported from the Middle East and Mexico.

Although there may be ample supplies of oil, that didn't stop crude oil prices from shooting above $77 a barrel in trading today. As for diesel fuel prices, ProMiles shows the national average for diesel at the pump at $3.09 – the same price as Tuesday.

On Monday, BP announced that it would cease production at Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, a field that produces roughly 400,000 barrels a day - roughly 8 percent of the U.S. oil supply. The decision came after the company discovered what it called “unexpectedly severe corrosion and a small spill from a Prudhoe Bay oil transit line.”

BP's press release indicated it had contained the spill and started clean-up efforts.

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