There is a machine that can be used to go through an oil pipeline, like the one up in Prudhoe Bay that has just been shut down.
This machine can tell when the walls of the pipeline are becoming compromised.
This machine can act as an early warning system. So that shut downs like the one that just happened don't have to happen.
A machine exactly like this machine has been parked up in Prudhoe Bay for years.
Parked is the operative word.
The last time it was used to
inspect the inside of the pipeline up there wasn't last year. It wasn't
the year before that, either.
It wasn't even five years ago. Or six.
It was last used to check the safety of the pipeline in 1999.
Prudhoe Bay is in an isolated part of the world. There isn't much of
anything for anyone to do there except take care of the pipeline. Wipe
off the blood of the animals that run into it. Paint over the
rust. Get out the pipe inspection machine parked out back and
take it for a ride inside the pipe.
Every seven years.
The designated hitter from BP called a press conference yesterday when the pipeline had to be closed for repairs.
He regretted the inconvenience to the public. He couldn't have seemed
more sorry. I believe I almost saw a tear. When asked why basic
maintenance had not been implemented for all this time, he said what
every good senior officer of an unregulated, profit sucking multi
national conglomerate says when his ass is in a sling, "I forgot."