Crude oil leak in Cook Inlet halted successfully; spill volume still unknown

Hilcorp’s Anna Platform in Upper Cook Inlet, where workers felt an impact before observing several oil sheens on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Cook Inletkeeper)

State regulators on Monday said a leak from a crude oil pipeline in Cook Inlet was halted successfully.

The state also announced it had stood down the Unified Command on the incident after an overflight Monday morning didn’t observe any additional oil sheens.

Hilcorp, the dominant oil and gas producer in Cook Inlet, is responsible for the leak. The company deployed a pig through the leaking line on Sunday. The state says the operation successfully removed all the oil from the line so there is no way for the leak to continue.

The leak was first reported on Saturday after workers on one of the company’s platforms in Upper Cook Inlet felt an impact. Hilcorp personnel did see oil sheens both from the platform and during an overflight on Saturday afternoon.

The total volume of oil released and the cause of the spill is still unknown, according the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Hilcorp estimated less than three gallons of oil was released, based on the number and size of the observed oil sheens. But the state will do the final calculation based on the amount of oil Hilcorp was able to push from the line into a holding tank. The line’s maximum capacity is more than 19,000 gallons; it was at full capacity when the impact occurred.

The oil spill is not associated with a gas leak coming from a different line owned by Hilcorp in Cook Inlet. Ice conditions in the Inlet are delaying full repairs to both lines.

Elizabeth Harball is a reporter with Alaska's Energy Desk, covering Alaska’s oil and gas industry and environmental policy. She is a contributor to the Energy Desk’s Midnight Oil podcast series. Before moving to Alaska in 2016, Harball worked at E&E News in Washington, D.C., where she covered federal and state climate change policy. Originally from Kalispell, Montana, Harball is a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Previous articleSitka’s electric rates to change seasonally
Next articleSmokejumpers prepare for wildfire season with practice jumps