The discovery of multiple pipeline leaks in the waters of Alaska’s Cook Inlet has been discoverd.
First, a natural gas leak was reported. That leak, which is ongoing and sending 210,000 to 310,000 cubic feet of natural gas into the watershed every day, was later said to have started in December of last year.
A second leak in a separate pipeline was discovered after oil sheens were found on Cook Inlet’s water. While the source of the first leak remains unknown, the second leak appears to have come from a 2-inch gash that repair divers found in the pipeline, according to Alaska Dispatch News.
A statement released by a Hilcorp spokeswoman on Monday says the damage was found at the “very bottom of the pipeline resting on a boulder embedded in the seafloor.”
A temporary repair for this new leak is currently in the works, and, as soon as it is completed, the company has said that they will further inspect the pipeline and perform permanent repairs.
Meanwhile, Hilcorp refuses to shut down the pipeline that is the source of the ongoing leak, claiming that shutting it down completely could lead to more damage.
‘Shutting in the pipeline presents safety risks for our people, the environment, and has the potential to further damage offshore infrastructure.’
Hilcorp is no stranger to pipeline leaks. In 2014, two leaks on the same pipeline that was damaged this month had to be repaired. Both of those leaks were also blamed on rock abrasions.
As pipelines continue to hemorrhage gas and oil, environmental activists worry about the area’s wildlife, particularly the endangered beluga whales that occupy the waters in Cook Inlet. The numerous leaks from Hilcorp’s pipelines, in particular, has led to a petition calling for inspection of all the pipelines in Cook Inlet.
The petition from the Center for Biological Diversity points out the fact that Hilcorp has been cited repeatedly by the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for violating safety regulations. An attorney for the organization, Kristen Monsell, is also quoted calling first for government-mandated inspection and repair and then for a rapid transition to cleaner energy sources.
‘To truly protect our coasts, we need to stop offshore drilling and rapidly transition to cleaner energy sources. But in the meantime, the government must discover and order the fix of faulty pipelines before another spill occurs — not after.’
The video below, available via YouTube, shows the effects the gas and oil leaks are having on Cook Inlet’s water.