Crews Work To Clean Up Milne Point Oil Spill

Clean-up crews are still working on an oil spill at Milne Point, about 25 miles northwest of Deadhorse. Milne Point is operated by Hilcorp.

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Company spokesperson Lori Nelson says poor weather conditions delayed work on the spill, which was first reported Saturday morning.

“We were able to dispatch more personnel both from Anchorage on Hilcorp’s side and the regulator’s side, to get those boots on the ground to do a full evaluation of the site,” Nelson said. “We have been able to mobilize clean up and response equipment to the site and work is ongoing.”

Crude and water sprayed onto the tundra from a quarter-inch hole in a 10-inch production line. The line was shut down and a bypass was installed on Sunday. Some of the wells on the site have already been brought back online. Nelson says oil production at Milne is about 20,000 barrels per day.

The Department of Environmental Conservation reports that nearly an acre of tundra and well pads were affected. Response crews have cleaned up nearly 100 barrels of oil and other liquids.

DEC Environmental Program Specialist Brad Dunker says 15 to 20 people are onsite removing the contaminated snow and ice.

“Basically what they’re doing is putting the snow and ice that they scoop from the impacted area into containers,” Dunker said. “And those containers will be hauled off by a dump truck and disposed of properly.”

Dunker says they are focusing efforts on containing the spill so it doesn’t spread any further. The area is fenced off to prevent impacts on wildlife. DEC will inspect the damaged pipe and investigate the cause.