Gas Leak At BP Oil Well In Alaska Has Been Stopped

Ice covers a portion of Cook Inlet earlier this month. Divers stopped a leak from a Hilcorp Alaska natural gas pipeline in 80 feet of water this week in the inlet where endangered beluga whales live

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

BP plc is still working to secure a well in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay field that began leaking hydrocarbons last Friday.

United Kingdom oil giant BP has been engaged in controlling a damaged oil well on Alaska's remote North Slope over the weekend, after the well started venting natural gas vapours on Friday morning, according to the company and Alaska officials.

An oil well leaking natural gas on Alaska's North Slope has been successfully plugged, according to private and government responders.

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.

An earlier report by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said pressure in the well had caused the well assembly and equipment to "jack up", or rise, three to four feet, hampering efforts to shut off the gas leak.

But the platform is still venting gas from a leak associated with a damaged pressure gauge.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says workers Saturday night were able to connect hoses to valves that allow pressure in the well to be reduced. 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.

BP and state regulators are investigating the cause.

While it's not uncommon for natural gas to escape from North Slope wells, an emergency of Friday's magnitude is rare, said Lois Epstein, Arctic Program Director for The Wilderness Society, an environmental group in Anchorage. They claim that two leaks had sprung, one at the well's top and one at the well's bottom.

No people were at the well when it burst, and no injuries have been reported. 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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