BP: Pipeline closing may last for months

By MARY PEMBERTON, Associated Press Writer

BP PLC said Monday it will replace 73 percent of the pipelines from 
the nation's largest oil field and that production could be closed 
for weeks or months, crimping the nation's oil supplies at a time of 
peak demand.

BP, the world's second-largest oil company, began shutting down the 
pipelines on Monday and said it would replace 16 miles of the 22 
miles of transit pipeline it operates in the Prudhoe Bay field 
following a leak discovered Sunday.

Company officials told a news conference they did not immediately 
know how much it would cost to replace the lines. They will continue 
to keep the oil field closed and bring parts back into service once 
it's safe to do so.

Once complete, the shutdown will cut production by 400,000 barrels a 
day, about 2.6 percent of supply including imports, according to data 
from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The news drove oil 
prices up by $2 a barrel and boosted gasoline prices.

"BP deeply regrets it has been necessary for us to take this drastic 
action," said Bob Malone, chairman of BP America.

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