Alaskan Pipeline Shut Down After Oil Spill

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Thousands of barrels of crude oil have spilled from the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which is partially owned by British Petroleum.

The oil overflowed in a containment area on Tuesday, shutting down the 800-mile line until the hazard is removed.

The spill happened during a scheduled pipeline shutdown at a pump station about 100 miles south of Fairbanks.

Some workers were evacuated but there were no reports of injuries.

The pipeline has relief valves that open to keep pressure from building up too high inside. They opened, and oil flowed into a moderately filled tank that is designed to hold 55,000 barrels, or about 2.3 million gallons. But a control circuit in the battery did not close the relief valve.

Oil companies operating in the region have been ordered to reduce production until pipeline operations resume.

"We're going to take as long as we need to make sure the site is safe before we start back up," Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. spokeswoman Michele Egan told Reuters.

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