Oil company works to clean Alaska leak
PRUDHOE BAY, Alaska — A Texas-based oil and gas company that last year said it discovered at least 6 billion barrels of oil under its land in northern Alaska is cleaning up more than 7,000 gallons of oil that leaked from a well.
Caelus Energy originally thought the leak in mid-June was just 5 gallons. While the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation thinks most of the leak was contained to the gravel pad, some oil made it out to the tundra, said Tom DeRuyter, who is overseeing the response to the leak.
“I don’t want to minimize the size of this spill — that was a lot of oil that came out of this well,” DeRuyter said, adding it took unusually long for the problem to be detected and for people to react accordingly.
Caelus officials declined to be interviewed, but the company issued a statement saying it is working with the state department to minimize damage. The oil came from a well that was drilled and plugged in 2013, the company stated.
The leaked oil is not crude. It’s a mixture of fluids Caelus put in the well, described by the state as mineral oil and “diesel freeze protect fluid.”