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BP's Alaska North Slope Well Stops Leaking Crude Oil


The state department also said that the exact volume of the leak is yet to be determined. There is no estimation of the volume of oil spilled or the amount of natural gas that is still coming from the wellhead. The well has been shut in since Friday and the response is ongoing, BP spokeswoman Dawn Patience said by email Sunday. "However it is not now spraying crude oil".

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.

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According to a Sunday report from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the well is no longer spraying crude oil, as it was when employees of BP Exploration Alaska Inc. identified it on Friday.

BP spokesman Brett Clanton said that "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 was fined $255 million by the state of Alaska for negligence in their maintenance of Prudhoe Bay pipelines. North Slope production was up to 565,000 barrels a day in March, its highest level since December 2013. Hilcorp Alaska has discovered several oil and natural-gas leaks in pipelines, but ice made had it impossible to fix the leaks.

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Though no injuries or damage to wildlife had been reported, crews trying to secure the well had failed amid biting winds blowing up to 38 miles an hour. In 2006, a corroded pipeline released almost 5,000 barrels of crude oil, the largest oil spill in the North Slope at the time.

But the release of vented natural gas means that the well is still leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas that traps heat 86 times more effectively than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, into the atmosphere.

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