ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Phillips Alaska Inc. was diking a spill area at the Kuparuk oil field before flushing the tundra to cleanse it of a large amount of saltwater and crude.
''(The cleanup) is going very smoothly. We're ahead of schedule,'' Ed Meggert, head of oil spill response with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said Tuesday.
More than 92,000 gallons of the mixture leaked from a pipeline Sunday night, making it one of the largest spills ever on the North Slope tundra.
Phillips personnel discovered the problem at 10:45 p.m. when the pipeline, which runs from Kuparuk's central processing facility to oil production pad 1B, had a sudden drop in pressure.
The 10-inch pipeline carries what is known as ''produced water,'' a mixture about 97 percent seawater and with trace amounts of crude.
The fluid came out of the pipe at more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and saturated more than an acre of tundra, Meggert said.
Phillips spokeswoman Dawn Patience said that by Tuesday, 94,500 gallons of liquid had been recovered. That includes some melted snow from the area.
State officials believe corrosion from water seeping between the hot pipe and insulation caused the spill.
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