Prudhoe produced water spill 600 barrels
The produced water spill which occurred Oct. 21 at Flow Station 3 in the Eastern Operating Area at Prudhoe Bay is estimated to have been 600 barrels, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said in a situation report issued Oct. 24 (no additional reports were available when this issue of Petroleum News went to press).
DEC said Flow Station 3 is about a mile east of Pump Station 1, some 4.5 miles northwest of Deadhorse.
The spill occurred inside Module 4941 at Flow Station 3. The spill was produced water, a byproduct of oil production, and DEC said the 600 barrels in the spill, 25,200 gallons, is estimated to have contained 0.00156% crude oil, approximately 39 gallons.
Prudhoe operator BP Exploration (Alaska) expects to conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the spill, DEC said, with preliminary reports indicating it was caused by separation of expansion joints on a suction header connected to two produced production water injection pumps. “The expansion joints on the header are believed to have parted due to a ‘water hammer’ that was created when the two pumps shut down during a power outage,” DEC said.
Focus in the first 48 hours was containment to minimize further migration of released product, followed by recovery on and off pad.
Flow Station 3 was shut down following discovery of the produced water spill, but was restarted Oct. 23, DEC said, “to prevent potential freeze related impacts to infrastructure.”
- KRISTEN NELSON