ENERGY: Somebody Cheated

If the consortium that is building the $7 billion, 800-mile Alaska pipeline began pumping through it now, the chances are that the oil would eventually leak all over the tundra and the pristine mountains along the pipeline's path. For some time this possibility has been a matter of quiet but earnest concern among oilmen and federal officials, who are faced with what may be the biggest problem yet to hit the trouble-plagued project. An urgent audit carried out by the eight-company pipeline consortium, which includes Exxon, Atlantic Richfield and British Petroleum, has revealed 3,955 "problem welds" in the pipeline,...