State officials say they do not yet know the cause of a small crude oil spill from a pipeline within the Cross Timbers Oil Co. onshore facility.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, which released a statement on the spill late Wednesday afternoon, said about 1,050 gallons of crude oil spilled from the 8-inch diameter, above-ground pipe in a leak that began about 2:20 p.m. on Tuesday at the site off Wik Road just south of the Nikiski mall. Doug Marshall, Cross Timbers production superintendent, said nearly all of the oil was recovered with a vacuum truck, though cleanup workers still must wipe around nearby piping.
Gary Folley, environmental specialist for DEC, said the spilled oil fell on frozen ground and ran into a utilidor, a piping corridor covered with a corrugated tin shelter.
"It was in a discrete area. There weren't any resources impacted. It was contained within the facility," he said.
Cross Timbers produces crude from two offshore platforms it bought from Shell Oil Co. The spill was at the onshore facility where Cross Timbers separates water from the crude. Marshall said the leak was in a pipe that runs from a sump tank to a surge tank. The facility dates to the 1960s, he said, but he did not immediately know the age of the pipe that failed.
"It's fairly old," he said.
The leak was a pencil-point sized hole in a weld where the pipe leaves the utilidor, he said. It was found after spilled oil flowed into the utilidor and set off a gas detector. Marshall said workers isolated that section of pipe and put a clamp over the leak. Once the necessary parts arrive, they will remove that section of pipe to investigate the cause of the failure.
Marshall said the pipe that failed is not coated to protect against corrosion. However, there is cathodic protection, another anti-corrosion system, throughout the facility.
"When we're able to pull it out, we can see if it's internal corrosion or what caused it," he said.
Peak Oilfield Services brought a vacuum truck and hand tools to recover spilled oil.
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