Hilcorp Alaska is among the most influential privately-held natural oil and gas production enterprises in the United States. However, the company has shown numerous times signs of faulty marine pipelines this year only. This is the third time in 2017 when the petroleum firm had to admit that it found a new leaking line.
Hilcorp Alaska LLC Explained the Issue as a Metering Problem and not a Leak
Last weekend, Hilcorp Alaska LLC was forced to shut down another one of its marine pipelines. The reason behind this move was a logistics discovery. The processing facility that receives the resources on shore did not receive the same volume of natural gas that the production platform extracted.
Thus, the board of the company found that there is no leak interfering with their system, but a “metering anomaly.” However, the federal agency in charge of the jurisdiction, namely Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, contested this statement.
“As far as we know there was a leak. If they [Hilcorp] have some new information that hasn’t made it to us yet, I couldn’t speak on that.”
Darius Kirkwood, a spokesman for PHMSA, announced that the faulty line had been deactivated for authorities to investigate the cause behind the numbers that don’t match. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is also suspicious of a possible leak. The director of spill prevention and response department at DEC, Kristin Ryan, stated that the lack of pressure is a major evidence that indicates the presence of an issue with the pipeline.
All Three Faulty Marine Pipelines Were in the Same Area, Yet They Are not Interconnected
The question now that remains is related to the volume of the leaked natural gas into the waters. For the moment, Alaska has no regulations that guide authorities in situations of leaked gas. This is why the responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of PHSMA to mitigate the issue. Even though all three faulty pipelines of this year are located in the same area of Upper Cook, they are not related.
The investigation into the first leak hasn’t come to a conclusion yet. Officials discovered the incident on February 7th, but the problem began sometime in the month of December. Hilcorp didn’t shut the pipeline. The company explained that this action might lead to the release of residual crude oil. This would have been a more devastating environmental issue than it is now. The second leak was registered on April 1st. Authorities fear that the system of pipelines is about to yield to old age.
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