The following incidents in CIRCAC’s area of responsibility and concern have warranted monitoring and/or advice, recommendations, data and expertise.
Platform A Gas Pipeline Leak (Hilcorp)
CIRCAC’s congressional mandates specify our role in crude oil transportation and facility operations. Though natural gas supply lines do not specifically fall within those mandates, we are concerned any time a hazardous substance is introduced into the Inlet. We’re providing our data and expertise in any way that can improve decisions being made about this incident, which is a reminder of Cook Inlet’s aging infrastructure, specifically subsea pipeline integrity.
CIRCAC’s Director of Science and Research, Susan Saupe, has been contacted as a subject matter expert about parts of the monitoring plan based on her experience sampling in Cook Inlet, including in the high current scenarios north of the Forelands. She has provided her recommendations to the state and resource agencies. As we understand, the State’s final recommendations to Hilcorp are still being considered. We’re also providing access to the ice camera network to assist.
Drift River Oil Terminal Spill
In July, Hilcorp Alaska reported a crude oil discharge associated with the piping system at the Drift River Oil Terminal tank farm. During investigation, a valve misalignment was discovered and the pump shut down. The investigation uncovered four different sites where oil contamination levels required excavation, ground water recovery and site remediation. The response continued until weather forced the suspension of operations and will be resumed this spring.
In July, Hilcorp reported a small leak from a buried crude oil line at the facility. The Beaver Creek Production Facility is located near Kenai in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The leaking line had been isolated and approximately 25 gallons were spilled, 850 cubic yards of solids removed, five groundwater monitoring wells installed and over 30 confirmation samples collected. The case was transferred to ADEC’s Contaminated Sites Program for cleanup monitoring and evaluation due to its possible impacts to groundwater.
Nikiski KPL Dock
In December, a pipe ruptured at the KPL facility Tank 2400 waste water tank. The resulting discharge did not impact Cook Inlet nor were there any injuries. The ruptured pipe was isolated and contractors have been cleaning up the discharge. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation responded to the incident and investigated. The rupture was likely caused by freezing water in the pipe combined with pressure when put into service; 12.5 barrels of water and .6 barrels of hydrocarbons were recovered.