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article imageHilcorp Energy has added an oil leak to Cook Inlet's gas leak

By Karen Graham     Apr 3, 2017 in Environment
Hilcorp Energy already has a full plate owing to a gas pipeline rupture in Cook Inlet that is still not repaired, and now the company has to deal with an oil pipeline leak from one of their platforms, a far more harmful situation.
The oil leak was discovered on Saturday morning around 11:20 a.m. after workers felt "an impact" on the company's Anna platform. Employees then noticed an oil sheen and bubbling from underwater. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was notified at 12:05 p.m. according to the Peninsula Clarion.
“In looking over the side of the platform to see what was going on, personnel observed sheen and bubbles coming up from near one of the platform legs where the 8-inch line is located,” the report stated. “Personnel confirm that the bubbles or sheen were not observed the day prior.”
In response to the leak, Hilcorp's Anna and Bruce platforms were shut down and as of Monday, the leak had been stopped. The platform is located northeast of Trading Bay on Cook Inlet’s west side. The pipeline is 75 feet (23 meters) under the surface of Cook Inlet and links two platforms.
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However, with the pipeline carrying more than 19,000 gallons of crude oil a day, it is still not known how much oil leaked into the ocean prior to its being shut down. The oil platforms are in a critical habitat for the gravely endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales, whose numbers have dwindled to 340 individuals and this is a grave concern to everyone.
Cook Inlet is dotted with oil and gas platforms.
Cook Inlet is dotted with oil and gas platforms.
Oceanwide Science Institute/Cook Inlet Project
In a statement Sunday, according to Voice of America News, Governor Bill Walker said, “I am deeply concerned about the potential impact on the environment. Our Spill Prevention and Response Team has immediately responded, and is keeping me apprised of developments.”
This latest spill is not related to the Hilcorp gas pipeline rupture in Cook Inlet that was first discovered on February 7. That pipeline is still not repaired and continues to release about 300,000 cubic feet of methane gas into the Inlet every day.
In his statement on Sunday, the governor, referring to the gas pipeline leak said the oil leak is “significantly more harmful.” A directive issued on March 3, 2017, by PHMSA gives Hilcorp Energy until May 1 to "permanently" repair the gas pipeline or shut it down because it poses a risk to public safety as well as having environmental risks.
More about Hilcorp, cook inlet, Gas leak, Oil leak, Environment
 
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