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

It isn't clear what caused the leak in the oil and natural-gas production well, about five miles from the airport for Deadhorse, a town devoted to servicing the giant Prudhoe Bay oil fields, which began producing 40 years ago. However, the crack found was froze due to the weather and caused the first stoppage to the condition which gave time to the crew members to stop the leakage permanently.

The state department also said that the exact volume of the leak is yet to be determined. So far, they report that no one has been injured and no wildlife impacted.

The crude spray onto the well pad was discovered Friday morning, and capped on Sunday. So far, officials have triggered a safety valve to slow the release of natural gas from the well, but the well was still leaking as of Sunday afternoon.

An oil well misting natural gas on Alaska's frozen North Slope.

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

"Whenever you have an out-of-control well like this, that means something very serious went wrong", Epstein said in a telephone interview.

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Candice Bressler says the well operated by BP Exploration Alaska Inc., a subsidiary of BP, was successfully controlled overnight.

The North Slope is a remote location and was once home to the biggest oilfields of America. "Based on an overflight with infrared cameras, the release appears to be contained to the gravel pad surrounding the wellhead and has not reached the tundra", BP spokesman Brett Clanton told The Associated Press Saturday (April 15).

Alyeska Pipeline Service's Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, which runs from Prudhoe Bay south to Valdez, is not affected by this incident and is operating normally, Michelle Egan, a company spokeswoman, said.

Alaskan North Slope crude was valued at $1.80/bbl over USA benchmark West Texas Intermediate on Monday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

  • Todd Kelly