Monday, July 12, 1999 Published at 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Alaska oil disaster 'imminent'
An ecological disaster greater than the Exxon Valdez oil spill 10 years ago could hit Alaska at any moment, according to senior employees of the BP Amoco company.
But the man in charge of the pipe-line has rejected the claim.
"We're confident that the pipeline is safe," Bob Malone, President of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, told BBC News Online.
"We know of no situation that exists to make it unsafe."
The allegations - reported in London's Guardian newspaper - centre on the 1280-km (800-mile) Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (Taps).
Both installations are run by Alyeska on behalf of BP Amoco, a 50% shareholder. The other co-owners of Alyeska are Exxon and Arco.
"It's not a matter of if it is going to happen, it's when it is going to happen," says one Taps employee quoted by the Guardian.
"It's more dangerous now than it ever was, because Alyeska is being run by spin-doctors," says another.
The letter reportedly contains allegations of
The employees say they fear a worse disaster than the Exxon Valdez spill a decade ago, which caused terrible and long-lasting environmental damage and cost billions of dollars to clean up.
"If there is an issue that someone knows about that threatens the safety of the pipeline, we want and need to know about it," he told BBC News Online.
"The safety of our people and the Alaska environment are our first priorities," he said.
Not the first allegations
The Guardian allegations are a blow to Sir John Browne, who has "spent two years re-positioning BP as the 'green' oil and gas company".
In 1993, an American Congressional investigation into the pipe-line followed the leak of complaints by so-called whistle-blowers.
Six years later, the Guardian says, safety issues raised by those "imminent threats" have been consistently disregarded.
Alyeska's licence to operate the pipeline is currently under government review.