Spill is among worst ever on North Slope

Excerpts:

Officials have found a 24-inch jagged rupture in a pipeline that began pouring oil and water Nov. 29, creating one of the biggest North Slope crude oil spills ever.

…Officials say massive ice plugs had formed inside the pipe, which caused BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. to stop operating it a few weeks ago. Pressure then built up until the pipeline ruptured, according to BP.

…DEC officials are compiling information about other large spills but, based on past reports, this one appears to be one of the biggest.

The biggest oil spill ever on the North Slope occurred in 2006 when more than 200,000 gallons of crude leaked from a corroded transit line at the Prudhoe Bay field. That led to a criminal misdemeanor conviction for BP, $20 million in fines and restitution, and three years of probation, which the company is still on.