Oil com­pany works to clean Alaska leak

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

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.”

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