Governor Walker, Hilcorp Executives Agree on Plan to Expedite Resolution of Cook Inlet Gas Leak
Oil and gas production shutdown assures protection of beluga whales and fish
March 25, 2017 ANCHORAGE— Governor Bill Walker has been in contact with Hilcorp Alaska executives about addressing the company’s gas line leak in Cook Inlet. Governor Walker and the Hilcorp team today agreed the best course of action at this time is to enact a temporary shutdown of the company’s oil and gas production in order to reduce safety risks and environmental impact.
“I appreciate that the company officials are implementing a prudent plan of action,” Governor Walker said. “Alaskans want peace of mind that our waters are protected.”
Hilcorp will reduce the gas line pressure by half—from 145 pounds per square inch (psi) to 65 psi, which is the minimum needed to maintain pressure to prevent water from entering the line. Because the gas line was formerly an oil pipeline, old crude oil could potentially leak into the inlet if water were to enter the gas line.
The platforms currently being fed by the leaking gas line will be temporarily shut down as a result of the gas line pressure reduction. The reduced pressure will allow Hilcorp to operate equipment to prevent freezing or breaking of other oil lines, which could lead to more spills.
Hilcorp first discovered the leak during a helicopter overflight on February 7, and reported it to federal and state agencies. Efforts to repair the line have been hampered by winter ice, which makes it dangerous for divers and boats to operate in the area of the leak.
Hilcorp executives committed to Governor Walker that they will not be starting up production at the platforms again until federal and state regulators are satisfied the oil and gas lines can be operated safely and in accordance with all applicable laws.
For more information on this incident, see: http://dec.alaska.gov/spar/