Regulators examine ConocoPhillips’ 2022 Alpine Gas Leak

While ConocoPhillips faces national scrutiny over a future Arctic oil drilling site known as Willow, state regulators took testimony Thursday about an uncontrolled natural gas leak last year at Alpine, a developed oilfield about 30 miles away.

This is reported by Alaska Public Media.

The company rerouted the gas through a waste disposal well within days of the 2022 incident, but it took more than three weeks to stop the leak at the source.

ConocoPhillips employees repeatedly told the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that gas was not detected beyond the gravel drilling pad, known as CD-1, and that no harm to people or wildlife was observed from the gas that emerged through the tundra and gravel.

The company said nothing like this has ever happened before in its 50-year history of operating in the region, and that it has learned lessons to prevent it from occurring again. But for opponents of development at Willow, the gas leak at Alpine represents a cautionary tale.

The Alaska commission is considering the case for possible enforcement action, which could include fines. Commission Chair Brett Huber said the panel will issue a written decision. No date has been set for that report.

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