Wednesday, 26 April, 2017

BP's leaking Alaska well stops spraying crude oil, still emitting gas

Prudhoe Bay Prudhoe Bay
Debra Rodriguez | 21 April, 2017, 03:29

By looking at the aerial pictures that were released by the department, it seems that the release is under control and contained to the gravel pad only, which surrounds the head of the well.

On Saturday night, responders from BP, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Alaska DEC were able to connect hoses to valves and bleed pressure from the space surrounding the well's underground steel pipe. What's more, an earlier statement from the Unified Command Task Force tackling the spill said that the amount of oil leaked was small compared to the amount of gas that is being released.

BP has dealt with several spills and leaks in Alaska in the past. The well has been shut in since Friday and the response is ongoing, BP spokeswoman Dawn Patience said by email Sunday. On April 7, Hilcorp announced that it would cut off the flow of natural gas in the most recent leak and fill the line with filtered seawater.

Attempts to bring a leaking well house under control at a BP drill site in Prudhoe Bay have been unsuccessful, according to the latest situation report released from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

BP Exploration Alaska told state regulators Friday that oil was spraying from a well onto a pad and possibly onto the snow-covered tundra.

The volume of the leak hasn't been determined and the cause of the release is unknown, the department said.

It is still unclear, how much oil has spilled. BP was fined $255 million by the state of Alaska for negligence in their maintenance of Prudhoe Bay pipelines.

North Slope production rose to 565,000 barrels a day in March, its highest level since December 2013. A crude oil spray was confirmed and the spill was reported to authorities. "There have been no reports of impacted wildlife".

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