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Petroleum News: Shareholders sue BP over Prudhoe Bay pipeline maintenance practices

The Associated Press

Senior executives at BP face a lawsuit filed by shareholders who claim the company’s poor maintenance practices at Prudhoe Bay led to the partial shutdown of the nation’s largest oil field.

The suit alleges that BP has known for years about the severe pipeline corrosion that led to the partial shutdown on Aug. 6, but took no substantial steps to properly monitor and repair the transit lines that ferry oil straight into the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline.

The closure has more than halved the field’s daily 400,000-barrel output. Oil from Prudhoe Bay makes up about 8 percent of domestic oil supply.

BP Chief Executive John Browne and more than a dozen other top BP executives were named as defendants in the suit filed on Aug. 14 in New York District Court.

The suit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, was brought by investor Sue Pincus on behalf of BP shareholders “to remedy the severe harm caused to the company by its senior officers’ and directors’ mismanagement and neglect.”

BP’s spokesman in Alaska, Daren Beaudo, said Aug. 15 that the company does not comment on pending litigation.

BP is also facing federal scrutiny. A congressional committee has scheduled a Sept. 7 hearing to examine BP’s management practices on the field near the edge of the Arctic Ocean. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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