A well on the North Slope of Alaska owned by BP (BP.L), the UK-based oil and gas company, is no longer spraying crude oil but is still emitting natural gas, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, or ADEC, said on Sunday.
The well remains too dangerous for workers to access and fully assess the scope of the environmental impact, ADEC said.
Based on aerial photographs, it appears that the crude spray plume has not left the gravel pad where the rig is located, ADEC added. The department has not yet been able to estimate how much crude has been released, it said.
The leak was discovered on Friday morning and responders are addressing it.
BP has dealt with several spills and leaks in Alaska in the past. In 2006, a corroded pipeline released nearly 5,000 barrels of crude oil, the largest oil spill in the North Slope at the time. Another spill occurred in 2009 that saw just over 1,000 barrels leak.
In 2010, a BP-operated drilling rig called Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 people and spilling nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, making it the largest oil spill in U.S. federal waters. BP eventually agreed to pay $18.7 billion to settle all federal and state claims related to the spill.
(Reporting by Carl O'Donnell in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)