Workers relieve pressure on leaking Alaska oil well

A BP PLC well on Alaska's North Slope is no longer leaking crude oil or natural gas following a crude spray over the weekend, Bloomberg reported. This is because the cause of such a gas release is still unknown. The BP-owned well was also leaking crude oil, which stopped after authorities activated a safety valve yesterday (April 16).

A leak of natural gas from an Alaska North Slope oil well was plugged by pumping salt water down the well.

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. What's more, an earlier statement from the Unified Command Task Force tackling the spill said that the amount of oil leaked was small compared to the amount of gas that is being released. In 2006, a BP well in Prudhoe Bay spilled about 267,000 gallons of oil, the largest in the region's history.

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The BP leak comes as the remote North Slope, once home to the biggest US 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. Output there rose to 565,000 bpd in March, its highest level since December 2013. 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.

A company spokeswoman of Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., Michelle Egan said over the telephone on Sunday that their Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, which runs from the south of Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, is not affected by this incident and the system is operating at its normal pace.

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