DAN JOLING Associated Press Writer
ANCHORAGE, Alaska Oil production at Prudhoe Bay was cut to 10 percent of normal output after a power outage, and more weather related problems forced the trans- Alaska oil pipeline to temporarily go offline. The pipeline was down for about 10 hours Tuesday after flooding in Valdez likely knocked out fiberoptic communications at five valves on the pipeline. Crews were dispatched by helicopter to manually operate the valves, allowing operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. To restart production. About 800 miles to the north, BP PLC crews worked to restore power to the nation’s largest oil field after high winds knocked down power lines early Tuesday. “The important thing right now is to get the power supply stabilized,” said spokesman Daren Beaudo. Production fell to about 35,000 barrels Tuesday, a tenth of the 350,000 barrels that were produced Monday in the oil field already hampered by problems. Layers of dust and dirt blown by high winds built up on high-voltage insulators on power lines and the field, causing a short and bringing the entire field down. BP crews worked Tuesday to wash insulators, restore power and ramp up production, but Beaudo couldn’t say how long the work would take. Near Valdez, Alyeska early Tuesday lost communication with the five remote gate valves on the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which carries nearly 17 percent of the nation’s domestic oil supply daily. The remote valves are important when there is a pipeline leak. They are closed to limit the amount that might be spilled in the affected section, Alyeska spokesman Mike Heatwole said. Heatwole said company protocol calls for the pipeline shutdown when valves cannot be closed from long distance. The valves must be staffed by crews that can manually operate the valves, he said. The pipeline was brought back online early Tuesday afternoon after those crews arrived by heliExtra funds. Newell has said the colony attendance centers would provide a “private education with public dollars.” She has been opposed to the idea during her time on the board. East End and Hilldale are among the largest property taxpayers in Hill County, Waldner added. “I’m sure it would cost just as much if not more to bus the kids to Havre,” he said. The two colony schools have 37 students. Waldner said he was extremely pleased with the decision and is thankful for the opportunity to establish attendance centers at the colonies. It is what other colonies in the state are doing, he said. Hilldale and East End colony schools are two of four private Hutterite schools in the state. Thirteen colonies in Montana have attendance centers. Waldner said he and other colony members have also discussed the matter with colonies all over Montana and gotten their advice. The other two Montana colonies with private schools are Flatwillow Colony in Musselshell County, Forty Mile Colony in Big Horn County. According to the state Office of Public Instruction, 17 public schools in the state almost exclusively educate colony students and 11 public schools have colony students. Montana has 10 independent public districts, which cover a single colony school including the Gildford Elementary District that consists of the Gildford Colony School. Any colony students would have the option to attend Havre schools or the colony classes and the agreement would allow any eligible students residing in the Havre district to enroll at the colony schools.