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NEWS BULLETIN

March 08, 2002 --- Vol. 8, No. 27March 2002

AOGCC proposes enforcement action for valve testing problems

The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued a performance enforcement action to BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. March 8 on Prudhoe Bay safety valve system performance after hearing a presentation from the company March 6 on safety valve testing issues and on BP's safety valve management system.

The commission said in the March 8 letter that it believes the proposed safety valve management system "is an effective plan to ensure compliance with AOGCC conservation orders and regulations associated with safety valve system performance."

BP responded in writing March 1 to a Feb. 14 letter from the commission expressing concern about past violations and noncompliance in safety valve performance.

The commission requires that safety valves be in working condition at all times. The valves are tested every six months or more often if a pad has a component failure rate greater than 10 percent. BP has had component failure rates of greater than 10 percent in concentrated areas at Prudhoe Bay.

The commission said in its March 8 letter that it was proposing enforcement action including requiring the full implementation of BP's Greater Prudhoe Bay safety valve management system by June 1 and requiring BP to provide quarterly status reports on the safety valve management system beginning June 1.

The commission said BP has 15 days from receipt of notification to file a written response concurring in whole or part with the proposed commission action. BP may request an informal review or request a hearing.

Editor's note: see story in March 17 issue of PNA.

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