Ohio Company Chips in for BP Alaska Fix

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Ohio Company Chips in for BP Alaska Fix

CLEVELAND -- The Pipe Line Development Co., known as PLIDCO, is working nearly 24 hours a day to produce fittings for BP to temporarily fix its 22 mile system in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, reported The Associated Press.

"We have been working two shifts about 20 to 22 hours a day," Smith told the AP. "We are looking to hire skilled welders and machinists immediately."

BP said it would keep one side of the Prudhoe Bay oil field open, to funnel nearly half of its previous output an prevent a more serious pinch in the nation's oil supply.

BP currently needs 12 "split sleeves," or massive clamps that are used to repair leaks without closing down the system. It also needs four weld end couplings that connect lengths of undamaged pipe, according to PLIDCO sales manager Frank Castro.

Manufacturing for the materials takes a month because of the precise forming, welding, heat treating and machining involved. PLIDCO has been in contact with its pipeline and oil company customers -- more than 100 in the world -- to fill the order by borrowing any extra fittings from warehouses.

"Most of the companies do have stock on hand," Castro told the AP, "as an insurance item."

The plan will reduce manufacturing time, overtime and an expansion of the workforce, which currently totals 75, at the family owned company.

The repair sleeves are cold-rolled from two inch thick pressure-vessel-quality plate steel, welded, x-rayed and machined. The 34-inch diameter model weighs 980 pounds, and the 30-inch unit weighs 875 pounds, the AP reported.

The cost to repair and replace the pipelines at Prudhoe Bay will cost the company nearly $170 million, according to BP.

As of August 12, current production from the Prudhoe Bay was approximately 150,000 barrels of oil and natural gas liquids per day. The production will increase to 200,000 barrels as Gathering Center 1 resumes full production after the completion of a planned maintenance shutdown.

BP has completed 2,200 ultrasonic inspections which will continue, along with visual and infrared surveillance of the line to assure safe operations.

To date, BP has bought more than 4.5 million barrels of crude oil on the global marketplace to cover the shortage caused from the Prudhoe Bay shutdown. Additional crude and other refined products will be acquired if necessary.