BP (www.bp.com) issued an update Sunday announcing output from its Prudhoe Bay, Alaska pipelines has returned to its pre-shutdown level of over 400,000 barrels a day. The oil giant was forced to cut its daily production in Prudhoe Bay in early August to approximately 200,000 barrels after it discovered a small spill and corrosion in some of its pipes in the area. BP’s maximum daily production in Prudhoe Bay is estimated at 450,000 barrels.

According to BP, it has run two smart pigs in the Eastern Operating Area (EOA) of Prudhoe Bay to test for corrosion in its pipelines. Initial results showed no surprises and no significant areas of corrosion. BP says it continues to evaluate the data with final results expected over the next couple of weeks. Western Operating Area (WOA) pigging is expected to begin in November.

BP says it has completed more than 24,000 inspections in the EOA using ultrasonic (UT) or other Department of Transportation (DOT, www.dot.gov)-approved inspection methods. Seventy-two percent of the pipe length in the EOA has been inspected. Inspections in WOA total more than 18,000 using the same techniques as the EOA. Sixty-two percent of the WOA pipe has been inspected. In both EOA and WOA inspections, BP says its results show no significant anomalies or wall loss, and the initial findings of the EOA smart-pig inspection confirm this finding.

BP also reports it has completed its orders for 16 miles of pipeline to replace existing transit lines at Prudhoe Bay. The pipe will be supplied by U.S. mills with anticipated delivery in the fourth quarter of 2006, with construction to begin during this winter”s construction season.

BP says it plans to enter all BP-operated oil transit lines on Alaska’s North Slope into the DOT”s Pipeline Integrity Management Program, which provides a system of best practices for the safe operation of pipelines carrying hazardous materials in high-risk areas.