BP Tries to Secure Leaking Oil and Natural Gas Well in Alaska

BP Tries to Secure Leaking Oil and Natural Gas Well in Alaska

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

Clanton says BP is focused on safely securing the well.

The well is operated by BP Exploration Alaska Inc., a subsidiary of BP. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday morning.

Responders say the crude oil spill appears to be limited to the drilling pad. They were waiting for the well to be plugged to determine if oil reached nearby snow-covered tundra.

A BP oil and gas production well in Alaska's North Slope blew out Friday morning, and on Saturday afternoon, the well was still not under control as responders fought subfreezing temperatures and winds gusting up to 38 miles per hour. 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. Hilcorp Alaska has discovered several oil and natural-gas leaks in pipelines, but ice made had it impossible to fix the leaks. "The bottom leak has been reduced, but is now leaking gas as well as some minor amount of crude oil".

BP reported the leak and set up a joint response team with state, federal and municipal responders. By Sunday afternoon in Alaska, that had been stopped.

In a 2011 settlement with the Department of Justice, BP agreed to pay a $25 million civil penalty and carry out a "system-wide integrity management program" after it spilled more than 5,000 barrels of crude oil from its pipelines on Alaska's North Slope in 2006.

Pressure in the well was monitored all night and excess pressure released from the well. No volume estimate for crude spray released is available at this time.

The oil company will ultimately have to "kill the well", an expensive and unsafe process that stops the extraction process.

An unknown about of oil reached the well pad.