LPC-LO3 Pipeline Spill
Spill discovered at approximately 3:05 AM, November 29, 2009 by the BPXA operator during a routine check. The spill was from an 18-inch three-phase common line carrying a mixture of crude oil, produced water, and natural gas. Total estimated volume of oily material released is 45,828 gallons (1,091 barrels); this is a preliminary figure only. The 18-inch line is no longer leaking product.
- Ship Wreck Location: Approximately 1.5 miles from the Lisburne Production Center (LPC) heading east along the Drill Site Line 3 (L03) and west of T3C, Prudhoe Bay, North Slope, Alaska.
- Resources Affected: An estimated 8,400 square-feet of snow-covered tundra with some contamination on the adjacent gravel road. Reports indicate that no product has reached the waters or shorelines of Prudhoe Bay. There are no reports of affected wildlife at this time.
- Cause: A visual inspection of the pipe on Monday, December 7, identified a rupture as the source of the leak. According to cleanup officials, the rupture is approximately 24 inches lengthwise, located on the bottom of the pipe. The rupture is consistent with an overpressure scenario, linked to ice plugs forming inside the pipe. However, separate investigations by BP and the State of Alaska into the cause are ongoing.
- Spill No. 09399933301
Spill Response Updates
Situation Update - December 17, 2009
- Response crews have completed the bulk of the cleanup effort; officials have provided a 95% completion estimate. The final night shift occurred December 16-17.
- The Unified Command has stood down, marking the transition from an emergency response phase to a project phase. ADEC continues to monitor the cleanup activities and waste management aspects of the cleanup project and investigate the cause and other aspects of the release.
- Severe cold weather has halted cleanup efforts at times. Workers continue to use jackhammers to remove frozen contaminated materials from beneath the pipeline. Snow melting operations slowed down due to mechanical problems, but will continue until all contaminated snow has been liquefied and the oil-water mixture stored in a tank to await final volume recordings for oil content.
- Oasis Environmental consultants continue to collect screening samples of the spill site. The sampling has located a few spots that will require more mechanical operations to remove the remaining contamination.
- ADEC has approved the confirmation sampling plan, which outlines how soil testing will confirm contaminants are properly removed in preparation for tundra rehabilitation next spring.
- Work is almost complete on the ice road extension from the spill site to LO3; once finished, the ice road will provide alternative access to the pipeline from LPC to LO3. High-powered “Scan-track” X-ray operations continue along the pipeline.
Future Plans and Recommendations:
- Mechanical and manual cleanup operations to remove the contaminated material from hot spots will continue. Snow melting operations will also continue.
- Engineers are completing their review and risk assessment for the pipeline repair plan. Repair parts are scheduled to arrive late next week.
- With the transition to the cleanup project phase, ADEC staff are beginning to demobilize. ADEC will maintain an appropriate field presence to monitor final cleanup, waste management, investigation, and pipeline repair operations.
Press Releases and Fact Sheets
- Unified Command News Releases
- 12/08/2009 - Source of pipeline leak identified (PDF 80K)
- 12/05/2009 - Update: Unified command calculates gross volume of spill for cleanup purposes
- 12/02/2009 6:00PM - Media Alert (PDF 96K)
- 12/02/2009 2:00PM - Oil misted snow removed from two-thirds of site (PDF 95K)
- 12/01/2009 12:00PM (PDF 83K)
- 11/30/2009 7:00PM - Initial Press Release (PDF 90K)
- Fact Sheets
Response Plans, Maps and Related Information
- Fact Sheets
- Prudhoe Bay/Lisburne Fact Sheet (courtesy of BP, PDF 777K)
- Maps and Aerial Photos
- Map showing location of spill site (PDF 2MB)
- Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR) image of spill area (November 29, 2009) (JPG 458K, source: BP)
- Situation Status Map, 12/03/2009 1530 (PDF 376K)
- Situation Status Map, 12/05/2009 (PDF 5.33MB)
- Information about NS Crude Oil
- NOAA Fact Sheet (PDF 406K)
- Oil Cleanup on Tundra
- Tundra Treatment Manual. Literature review and tundra cleanup guidelines.
- NWS Public Weather Forecast (Central Beaufort Sea Coast including Nuiqsut, Prudhoe Bay, Alpine, Deadhorse, Kuparuk)
- BP (BP Alaska website)
- EPA (Region 10 Response Information)
- Alaska Clean Seas
- Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
- North Slope Borough
Images may be downloaded for free and used in publications provided credit is given to the source.
November 30, 2009 Cleanup Operations
December 1, 2009 Cleanup Operations
December 2, 2009 Cleanup Operations
December 3, 2009 Cleanup Operations
December 4, 2009 Cleanup Operations
December 5, 2009 Cleanup Operations
December 6, 2009 Cleanup Operations
December 7, 2009 Cleanup Operations
December 8, 2009 Cleanup Operations
December 9, 2009 Cleanup Operations
December 10, 2009 Ruptured pipe
December 12, 2009 Trimming Operations
December 13, 2009 Trimming Operations
December 22, 2009 Cleanup Operations
Note to Users: Videos are hosted externally on Vimeo.com
- 12/14/2009. Alaska Clean Seas (ACS) staff sampling the steam coming off of the Dragon snow melter for LEL, and other gases at the East Dock. Video clip by Greg lippmann, ADEC.
- 12/14/2009. ACS staff loading the Dragon with contaminated snow to be melted at East Dock. First load to go in. Video clip by Greg lippmann, ADEC.
- 12/14/2009. The Dragon that was used to start the ice melting at East Dock. Video clip by Greg lippmann, ADEC.
- 12/22/2009. ACS staff hand cleaning the contaminated snow off of the pipes at the spill site. Video clip by Greg lippmann, ADEC.
- 12/22/2009. ACS staff trimming the contaminated road next to the pipe line. Video clip by Greg lippmann, ADEC.
- 12/13/2009 -- Trimming operations.
- 12/11/2009 -- Cleanup workers investigate the softened ice berm around the water-flushing and vacuum removal operations. Videotaped by ADEC field monitor Greg lippmann.
- 12/08/2009 -- A rollagon carrying contaminated soil from the spill site arrives at the Lisburne Production Center (LPC). Rollagons have large oversized tires which allow them to drive on tundra without causing damage. Videotaped by ADEC field monitor Brian Jackson.
- 12/05/2009 6:00pm -- A view of the workers building the ice berm. Videotaped by ADEC field monitor Brian Jackson.