After seeing this headline while riding in a high-rise elevator, I knew something was amiss. A little jogging of the memory and a little bit more googling got me to this webpage, which mentions in point 23 at about a third down the page: Prudhoe Bay has been in decline for the last 18 years.
Corporate propaganda, plain and simple (although the listed reason may have the slightest ring of truth).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Aug 23 (Reuters) – BP Plc said on Wednesday that oil production at its Prudhoe Bay oilfield in Alaska, already running at half capacity due to pipeline corrosion, has been cut by 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) for several days due to a technical fault. A company spokesman said output at the biggest oilfield in the United States had been reduced to 110,000 bpd after a natural gas compressor in Gathering Centre 2 failed.
“We anticipate that fixing the compressor will require several days,” said BP spokesman Daren Beaudo.
The field had previously been pumping about 200,000 bpd, around half its normal output, after the discovery of serious corrosion in a pipeline led BP to shut down the eastern half of Prudhoe Bay earlier this month.
The spokesman said no-one was hurt and no oil was spilled in the latest incident to beset the field, which has added to worries over an oil market strained by reduced Nigerian supply and fearful of potential disruptions in the Middle East.
Brent crude ticked higher after BP reported the latest disruption, trading up 20 cents at $72.22 a barrel. U.S. crude was up 3 cents at $71.79 a barrel.
BP is scrambling to find alternative routes for the oil that would normally have been produced by the eastern half of Prudhoe Bay, where severe pipeline corrosion has forced it to replace all major transit lines, but officials have cautioned against expectations that output would be quickly brought back to normal.
Engineers are working on three different bypass lines that could eventually fully restore production.
BP’s main partners in Prudhoe Bay are ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp.