Division of Spill Prevention and Response

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Drill Site 11 Methanol Release
Incident Description
Location

The release occurred at Drill Site 11, which is in the greater Prudhoe Bay oil production area. Prudhoe Bay is on the Beaufort Sea, and approximately 400 miles north of Fairbanks.

Product/Quantity BPXA estimates that a maximum of 1,092 gallons were spilled. The spilled material was a solution of equal parts water and methanol.
Cause

The spill was from an injection line that normally carries seawater from the DS-11 manifold building to injection wells 7 & 8. The line was out of service at the time of the spill due to the discovery of a seawater leak in the line four days prior to this incident. The 50/50 methanol and water mixture, used as a freeze protection fluid, was used to displace the seawater from the line while waiting on repairs.

The BPXA investigation determined the causal factors included failure of the seawater flowline while freeze-protected with the methanol / water mixture and also the failure to follow the appropriate isolation procedures.

On March 13, 2005 the seawater line was stripped of its insulation to reveal a small pencil-tip size hole located in the noon position on the line. The hole was due to corrosion.

Time/Date of Spill The release was discovered on February 17, 2005 at 5:27 PM by BPXA personnel, and reported to ADEC at 5:35 PM.
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