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

Owen Stevens
April 22, 2017

A spokesman for Alaska's local authorities said the clean-up would only begin after the leak from the oil well had stopped.

BP Exploration Alaska is a subsidiary of BP. Employees on Friday morning discovered uncontrolled natural gas flowing from the top of a well house, a metal structure that looks like a large box over a well.

The BP leak comes as the remote North Slope, once home to the biggest USA oilfields, enjoys a resurgence as companies work to improve production from aging wells and extend their reach to new supplies; North Slope production rose to 565K bbl/day in March, its highest level since December 2013. BP said infrared cameras on a flight over the site appeared to confirm that the oil released with the gas was contained on the gravel pad surrounding the well head and the tundra had suffered no damage.

The public image of BP is still recovering from the 2010 explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 people and affected beaches and wetlands.

BP has previously seen a leak in the Alaska area as well.

The state department also said that the exact volume of the leak is yet to be determined. The well had been shut since Friday and the response is continuing, BP spokeswoman Dawn Patience said.

Within an hour, they detected that the well also was spraying a mist of crude oil. BP eventually agreed to pay $18.7 billion to settle all federal and state claims related to the spill. North Slope production was up to 565,000 barrels a day in March, its highest level since December 2013. The upper leak was the one leaking crude oil and hazardous natural gas, but a safety valve activated and shut that leak off. Fortunately, there were no reports on the matter of injuries or any kind of unintended harm towards the wildlife of Alaska.

Oil field workers have reduced the pressure in an oil well that is leaking natural gas on Alaska's frozen North Slope. But the continuing natural gas leak continues to be a problem.

Other reports by VgToday

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