Unified Command Announces BPXA Well 3 Gas and Oil Leak Stopped

BPXA Well 3 on Alaska’s North Slope is no longer venting gas, which caused an initial spray of crude oil that impacted the gravel well pad. The well was killed today at approximately 3:35 am AKST by pumping in salt water, offsetting upward pressure. The well is not officially secured until a mechanical plug is installed. The dynamic kill means that hydraulic pressure is still being applied to the well. Pressure will be maintained by BPXA until the mechanical plug is installed.

Yesterday, responders from the well control contractor, Boots and Coots, were able to safely enter the well house and place a plug in the damaged aboveground piping (riser) coming off the well head. The plugging of the damaged aboveground piping allowed for responders to pump a salt water solution into the well which killed it.

Unified Command will review BPXA plans for placing a mechanical plug at the damaged section of the downhole pipe. Once the well is secured downhole, BPXA will work with their Oil Spill Response Organization, Alaska Clean Seas, to delineate the impacted area. Cleanup plans will be developed through the Incident Management Team and with guidance from the Unified Command. The Unified Command consists of responders from Alaska Department of Conservation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, North Slope Borough, and BP Exploration Alaska.

On April 14, 2017, a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) overflight showed that the crude spray plume did not extend beyond the gravel well pad. Presently, the situation is not yet safe for cleanup responders to access the area in order to confirm no impacts to adjacent tundra. However, there have been no reports of impacts to wildlife and no injuries. No estimate of the leak volume is available at this time.


Source: Unified Command Joint Information Center
Date: Apr 18, 2017