Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
Business | By Sandy Mccarthy

Workers plug gas leak at Alaska petroleum well

Workers plug gas leak at Alaska petroleum well

The leak was initially discovered Friday morning when BP employees saw crude oil spraying out of the top of it.

BP set up a unified command with state and federal regulators to address the leaking gas and oil.

Closure of a safety valve stopped the spray of crude oil.

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

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An oil well leaking natural gas on Alaska's North Slope has been successfully plugged, according to private and government responders. The well is operated by a London-based BP energy company.

Oil field workers have reduced the pressure in an oil well that is leaking natural gas on Alaska's frozen North Slope. So far no injuries or wildlife impacts have been reported. 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. Responders were unsuccessful on Friday night due to damage to a pressure gauge.

The total amount of oil spilled and whether the crude affected the snow-covered tundra nearby isn't yet clear, though authorities have expressed confidence the crude contamination is contained with a gravel area directly surrounding the well site. 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.

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. The accident was the worst oil spill in the North Slope, but thankfully does not even come close to the millions of barrels that the Macondo well gushed into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11.

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