ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) THURSDAY 11 A.M. UPDATE:
The well that previously was leaking a spray of gas has moved out of the containment phase and now is in the "cleanup project phase" according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
This was achieved once the mechanical plug was installed in the well, thereby securing and closing the well. The well had previously been killed and neutralized with salt water flow.
The cause of the well failure and the resulting spill is still under investigation by BPXA and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
The cleanup phase will continue without the Unified Command. EPA officials say the area affected by the spray of crude oil is confirmed to be limited to the gravel pad, an area less than 1.5 acres. They say the tundra nearby was not affected.
It is still not known how much oil was released during the spill event.
MONDAY 3:45 P.M. UPDATE:
The AK Dept of Environmental Conservation says the well was "killed" at 3:35 a.m. by pumping salt water into it to stop the flow of oil and gas.
DEC says the well will not be considered secured until a mechanic plug is put in place, but that the well is no longer leaking oil or gas.
The well control contractor Boots and Coots was able to enter the well house yesterday to place a plug on the above-ground pipe allowing salt water to be injected into the well, but state officials say BP is working on a plan to install a mechanic plug at the damaged section of the downhole pipe.
MONDAY 9:30 A.M. UPDATE:
According to British Patroleum, the well has been killed overnight after workers with the Unified Command were able to "achieve source control" over the well.
Dawn Patience, a Press Officer with BP, said that "the response operations will continue," following the killing of the well.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more developments become known.
In the latest situation report released by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, a BPXA wellhouse in Prudhoe Bay continues leaking gas, but no longer spraying crude oil.
The “uncontrolled gas leak” first reported by workers on Friday is currently being monitored, according to the ADEC.
ADEC said of the two identified leaks, the one near the top is not actively leaking anymore, “The bottom leak has been reduced, but is currently leaking gas.”
The report says personnel from the DS2 pad have been evacuated and the community of Nuiqsut, located about 50 miles away has been notified of the incident.
A unified command has been established “BPXA is putting together a plan for plugging the well’s top leak that resulted from the damaged pressure gauge; this plan needs to be implemented before well killing operations can take place,” according to the report.
The cause of the spill at the oil and gas production well is still unknown. “The situation is not safe yet for responders to access the area and confirm that there have been no impacts to adjacent tundra,” ADEC said.