Alaska BP Well Spews Oil for 3 Days Before Blow-Out Contained

Robyn Valdez
April 18, 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency said a crack in a BP wellhead near Deadhorse sent up mist of crude oil on Friday before it froze over and an initial leak stopped. The damage to the well is extensive: it has risen three or four feet out of the ground and its pressure gauge has been severely damaged, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) on Saturday. "All necessary notifications have been made to state and federal regulators".

The well is now venting gas, which caused a spray of crude to impact the well pad.

ADEC said of the two identified leaks, the one near the top is not actively leaking anymore, "The bottom leak has been reduced, but is now leaking gas". The upper leak was the one leaking crude oil and hazardous natural gas, but a safety valve activated and shut that leak off.

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

There were no reports of harm to nature or injuries. Well pressure was monitored through the night and excess pressure was bled off to keep it within a safe range.

According to Bloomberg, BP is now "putting together a plan to plug the gas leak". Once well control has been achieved, BPXA will work with their Oil Spill Response Organization, Alaska Clean Seas (ACS), to delineate the impacted area. Throughout the weekend, workers had to contend with gusting winds and subfreezing temperatures while attempting to staunch the flow of oil and natural gas.

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On Friday, an oil spill occurred at a well on the frozen tundra of Alaska's North Slope near Prudhoe Bay, The Wall Street Journal.

The leak comes as the remote North Slope, once home to the US' biggest oilfields, sees a revival with companies working to boost output from ageing wells and seeking access to new supplies.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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