For years oil analyst-turned whistleblower, Chuck Hamel, has been saying that the oil company operations in Alaska are a sham. He has become a conduit for whistleblowers working on the North Slope and for Alyeska -the joint pipeline company.

They have bought to him information concerning corrosion, quality assurance, health and safety and many other issues. Basically Hamel’s message has been that it is a disaster waiting to happen. The oil industry has routinely dismissed Hamel’s concerns, but for how much longer?

In March corrosion caused a leak in a BP pipeline that went unnoticed for five days, causing the largest ever spill on the North Slope. An investigation into the spill by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation could result in fines against BP of more than $2 million (euro1.63 million)

The company is also under criminal investigation by officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, who were already investigating BP when the March spill happened. According to the Wall Street Journal: “If investigators find any violations of the Clean Water Act, they will likely discuss the case with the U.S. attorney’s office, which could forward the matter to a federal grand jury for possible prosecution, said a person familiar with the matter”.

Now a senior financial analyst at Alyeska has filed a complaint with US federal Labour officials alleging that he was fired by Alyeska in retaliation for co-operating with criminal investigators from the EPA. The analyst Glen Plumlee, says he was asked to falsify records on corrosion, the very issue that caused BP’s latest spill. BP is the majority partner in Alyeska.

You know what they say – you can only hide the truth for so long …