BP finally caps leaking oil well on Alaska's North Slope

The leak was discovered Friday morning, with natural gas spewing out of the well and a "spray" of crude oil landing on the snow-covered drilling-well pad.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said Friday the spill is ongoing and the volume is unknown, AP reported.

At the time, the well was spilling crude oil, but that plume did not leave the well pad, state regulators said.

The well is now venting gas, which caused a spray of crude to impact the well pad. The oil spray ended Saturday, but the well remained out of control and vented gas through the weekend.

Anchorage-based BP Exploration Alaska Inc., a subsidiary of BP PLC, is the owner of the well in the Prudhoe Bay oil field.

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The site was also venting natural gas from two locations: a leak near the top of the well, and another lower down. What's more, an earlier statement from the Unified Command Task Force tackling the spill said that the amount of oil leaked was small compared to the amount of gas that is being released.

The company is putting together a plan to plug the gas leak, the statement said.

In 2010, a BP-operated drilling rig called Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 people and spilling almost 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, making it the largest oil spill in US federal waters. Responders attempted to secure the well last night, however, this operation was unsuccessful due to safety concerns and damage to a well pressure gauge. In 2006, a BP well in Prudhoe Bay spilled about 267,000 gallons of oil, the largest in the region's history. There have been no injuries and no reports of harm to wildlife.

BP has previously seen a leak in the Alaska area as well.

The leakage from an oil well in the direction of the cold arid tundra plains in the north, but the volume of leaks so far is still unknown, the United States news network ABC News reported.

  • Rita Burton