BP's Alaska Well Stops Leaking Oil, But Continues To Release Gas

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. A second leak at the well was emitting gas at a reduced rate, according to a statement Sunday by the state's Department of Environmental Conservation.

BP has reported to regulators that the crude spray has landed on the drilling pad but it remains unsafe to approach the well and determine whether the crude spray has affected tundra in the area.

The site was also venting natural gas from two locations: a leak near the top of the well, and another lower down.

In 2006, a BP oil pipeline in Prudhoe Bay ruptured and spilled 215,000 gallons of crude oil over the North Slope.

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BP did not have an estimate available for the volume of oil and natural gas spilled.

"At the risk of stating the obvious, we believe a well that still requires kill operations continues to experience some level of uncontrolled flow", Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., a Houston-based energy investment bank, wrote in a Monday note. Responders were unsuccessful on Friday night due to damage to a pressure gauge. "There have been no reports of impacted wildlife". Hilcorp Alaska has discovered several oil and natural-gas leaks in pipelines, but ice made had it impossible to fix the leaks. ADEC and U.S. EPA are coordinating with BPXA and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to investigate the cause of the discharge, following the securing of the well.

According to Bloomberg, BP is now "putting together a plan to plug the gas leak".

BP has previously seen a leak in the Alaska area as well. Five years later, BP agreed to pay more than $20 billion in penalties for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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