The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has issued an emergency order allowing BP Exploration (Alaska) to pump oil into specified development wells at the Badami, Endicott, Milne Point and Prudhoe Bay fields so that it can produce fuel gas and keep equipment and lines from freezing.
The commission said that while “normal production is not possible, some amount of production must be maintained to protect the safety of operating personnel in the fields and Deadhorse by providing fuel gas.”
It also said that if production equipment and pipelines are damaged due to freezing, state resources are at risk of environmental damage and public safety will be further threatened.
BP proposed a plan to maintain a minimum production rate to produce fuel gas and prevent freezing in field lines.
“In order to prevent waste, oil can be pumped into development wells to be later produced,” the commission said.
Since the unavailability of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline “constitutes an emergency situation that may result in harm to public health and safety,” the commission said it is issuing the emergency order to allow pumping excess crude oil into development wells at the listed fields.
The order expires in 14 days unless extended.
Fluid volumes must be tracked and reported to the commission.
The trans-Alaska oil pipeline was shut down Jan. 8 after a leak was discovered upstream of Pump Station 1 and production from all North Slope fields was reduced to approximately 5 percent of normal production.
See story in Jan. 16 issue, available to subscribers online at 11 a.m., Friday, Jan. 14, at www.PetroleumNews.com