BP has produced water release at Flow Station 3 in EOA at Prudhoe
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Spill Prevention and Response said Oct. 22 that BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. had a produced water release at Flow Station 3 at Prudhoe Bay on Oct. 21.
The volume is still being assessed, DEC said in its initial situation report.
FS3 is in the Eastern Operating Area at Prudhoe, about a mile east of Pump Station 1. The spill was discovered at 7:35 a.m. inside Module 4941, DEC said, and reported at 9:39 a.m., as soon as personnel were allowed access and confirmed that the produced water had escaped the module.
DEC said produced water is a byproduct of oil production which normally contains a small amount, less than 1%, crude oil, “any additives introduced during the production/treatment process, and brine.”
Preliminary indications are that the release “was due to the separation of expansion joints on a suction header that connects to two produced water injection pumps within module 4941,” and it is believed the separation occurred “due to a ‘water hammer’ that was created when the two pumps shut down during a power outage.”
DEC said the source of the release has been controlled.
BP and Alaska Clean Seas responders have been on scene conducting containment and recovery actions since about 9 a.m. Oct. 21, DEC said, focusing on recovering pooled product on and off pad using vacuum trucks. While the release occurred in Module 4941, it leaked out of that module to two adjoining modules, the underlying and adjacent gravel pad, and then east across the pad onto the snow covered tundra.
Alaska Clean Seas conducted an unmanned aerial vehicle overflight with forward looking infrared radar capabilities to delineate the affected area. DEC said responders built a gravel berm on the pad to prevent further migration of fluids to the tundra and “product that migrated off pad appears to be contained on already existing ice within the polygonal troughs of the tundra. There have been no reports of impacts to wildlife.”
Pooled product on and off the pad will continue to be removed, after which “flush and recover” tactic will be used to remove produced water on and off the pad.
DEC said FS3 remains shutdown while BP works on plans for a repair.
BP spokeswoman Megan Baldino told Petroleum News Oct. 23 that the company is working closely with state and federal regulators to mitigate any environmental impacts.
“BP remains committed to safe, compliant and reliable operations,” Baldino said.
- KRISTEN NELSON