Company to pay penalty for drilling leak in Alaska tundra

Sept. 4, 2015

Up to 500 gallons of well-testing fluid sprayed beyond the containment area.

SEATTLE — Sept. 3, 2015 — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) levied a $30,500 fine on Repsol E&P USA Inc. to settle Clean Water Act violations that occurred in April 2013, according to a press release.

The violations occurred at an oil exploration well pad on the North Slope in Alaska, noted the release. Exploratory "well drilling equipment leaked well-testing fluids onto the frozen, snow-covered arctic tundra."

The leak was caused by a ruptured hose on the Colville River Delta, stated the release. A secondary containment system collected most of the well-testing fluids that leaked from the hose.

Fluid that sprayed beyond the containment area measured up to 500 gallons and covered more than an acre of frozen, snow-covered tundra, reported the release. The company cleaned most of the contaminated snow within four days.

"Preventative measures to protect sensitive ecosystems like the arctic tundra are very important to keep pollutants out of the environment and away from people," said Jeff KenKnight, manager of the EPA’s Clean Water Act Compliance Unit in Seattle, in the release. "Holding companies accountable when they pollute the environment ensures that everyone is treated fairly, and promotes the use of precautionary spill prevention procedures."

Repsol E&P USA is a subsidiary of Spanish Repsol S.A., shared the release.

Click here to read the entire release.

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