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BP reports Alaska oil spill

18 April 2017

BP said on April 17 that a leak at a facility on Alaska's North Slope had been brought under control. A BP spokesman said details of what caused the loss of control or the amounts of oil and gas concerned were not available. The oil producer had retained well control specialists from Halliburton to kill the well, the spokesman said.

Prudhoe Bay oil facility - Image: BP
Prudhoe Bay oil facility - Image: BP

The leak was discovered on April 14 and a team from BP, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), US Environmental Protection Agency and local government was brought in to coordinate efforts. The team halted the well leaks overnight, BP said in a statement.

ADEC earlier said in a statement that well pipe had temporarily "jacked up" or risen vertically about 3 feet to 4 feet, causing a pressure gauge to break off. ADEC said the area impacted was gravel there were no reports of impacted wildlife. Oil droplets were found on about 1.5 acres of the well's drill pad, according to The Associated Press.

The community of Nuiqsut, 50 miles west of the site, was notified of the incident, but was not evacuated.

BP has dealt with several spills and leaks in Alaska in the past. In 2006, a corroded pipeline released nearly 5,000 barrels of crude oil, the largest oil spill in the North Slope at the time. Another spill occurred in 2009 that saw just over 1,000 barrels leak.

In 2010, a BP-operated drilling rig called Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 people and spilling nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, making it the largest oil spill in U.S. federal waters. BP eventually agreed to pay $18.7 billion to settle all federal and state claims related to the spill.

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