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There have been no injuries and no reports of harm to wildlife.
The nearest local community, Nuiqsut, located about 50 miles west, has been notified.“It’s tough to determine collateral impacts at this point, but some incident-related slowdown at Prudhoe Bay seems at least a reasonable risk to consider,” Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., a Houston-based energy investment bank, wrote in a Monday note.
Key industry observers from Alaska don’t seem especially worried — despite plans for increased shipments of Bakken crude to the West Coast by rail, and despite the fact that some Alaska oil has already been bumped from one refinery, while other refineries gear up to take the Midwest oil.
But Dan Lawn, a consultant for environmental groups and once a state tanker inspector for the Department of Environmental Conservation, believes West Coast refineries suddenly have more oil than they can handle, given that some oil tankers have returned to Alaska from Lower 48 refineries with part of their original cargo undelivered. He rang bells long before the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, claiming diminishing oversight would lead to an oil spill.
The crude spray was discovered Friday morning, and capped early Sunday.
A second leak that was emitting gas at a reduced rate was closed off overnight on Sunday, spokeswoman Dawn Patience said in an email.
Finley said the anomaly stems in part from supply disruptions related to international sanctions against Iran and civil unrest in countries such as Sudan.
North Slope of Alaska production has decreased about 75% since the 1980s, which has reduced utilization of TAPS. Impact of Expanded North Slope of Alaska Crude Oil Production on Oil Flows in the Contiguous United States (Summary).
"Impact of Expanded North Slope of Alaska Crude Oil Production on Oil Flows in the Contiguous United States (Summary)".
Candice Bressler, a state spokeswoman, referred production questions to the company.
Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.’s Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, which runs from Prudhoe Bay south to Valdez, isn’t affected by this incident and is operating normally, Michelle Egan, a company spokeswoman, said by telephone Sunday.