Broken Wellhead Causes AK Oil Leak

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 @ 02:05 PM gHale

BP could face a fine after a broken wellhead in Alaska’s North Slope sprayed oil and natural gas into the air earlier in April.

The Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) said it was carrying out an investigation of the incident “one potential outcome of AOGCC’s review is an enforcement action.”

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BP was able to stop the “mist” of oil that was spraying from a portion of the wellhead that was above ground by shutting off a safety valve at the surface, according to an incident report from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC).

However, DS-2 well-3 in the Prudhoe Bay field was still leaking natural gas from a second breach lower down on the wellhead, ADEC officials said.

BP and a crew from Halliburton subsidiary Boots & Coots brought the well under control by pumping down saltwater and installed a permanent mechanical plug in the bore a few days after they discovered the leak.

The root cause of the leak is under investigation.

BP and state officials said the wellhead ended up pushed up three to four feet by some force under the ground and then settled back down almost a foot, which broke a pressure gauge that leaked oil and gas.

Investigators and BP officials have not said what caused the wellhead to rise abruptly.

State officials have said there were no impacts to human health or wildlife in the area and they believe the oil spill ended up contained to the wellpad.

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