Gas leak at Alaska’s ConocoPhillips drilling site forces some to leave –

The gas leak, which emerged after ConocoPhillips recently proposed a controversial new drilling project, raised concerns about the impact of the accident on both public health and climate. This loss releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it is first released into the atmosphere and can be harmful if inhaled at high concentrations.

Residents and city officials said the ongoing leak alarmed many residents in Nuixut, a city of nearly 500 people, and forced about 20 families to leave the area.

“There is a lot of fear in society right now,” Martha Itma, a former tribal ruler of Nuixut, told Fairbanks. She said her family fled the village due to the leak.. “Community members are leaving for their own safety right now.”

ConocoPhillips spokesperson Michael Walter said the company did not suffer any significant damage at this stage.

“There are no reports of damage to the tundra, wildlife or environmental impact,” he said. “He continues to monitor the air quality and no natural gas has been detected outside the CD1 cushion.”

Ita, which has long opposed expanding North Slope oil and gas development, said it was skeptical of this assessment of the spill. “I don’t think they appreciate the effects.”

The Willow Project is one of Alaska’s top development priorities, but has sparked a backlash from environmental and indigenous groups who have warned it will harm wildlife, increase carbon emissions, and shift the Biden administration to renewable energy. .

The Office for Land Management of the Ministry of the Interior is examining it Environmental analysis Willow’s project came after a U.S. district court judge ruled that the federal government did not adequately analyze the project’s climate impact, among other shortcomings.

ConocoPhillips’ gas leak at the Alpine facility “demonstrates that the industry cannot yet operate safely in this environment,” said Jeremy Lib, senior lawyer at Earthjustice who is suing the project. “These projects pose a real threat to the people living nearby and a threat to the climate if gas leaks directly into the atmosphere.”

This disastrous Alaskan village couldn’t leave Big Oil

On Monday, ConocoPhillips moved all non-essential personnel from the Alps headquarters and CD1 Pillow. Of the 400 employees that are typically relocated to the facility, about 300 are removed, Walter said. He said there were no injuries and all staff were injured.

The company did not disclose the cause of the leak and did not say how much gas it has released since its inception.

“We are constantly monitoring the pillow using natural gas detection monitors. “We also do aerial infrared studies to look at the pillow from the air,” said Walter. He said. “The Headquarters of the Alps continues important works and continues to supply natural gas to the Nuiqsut Service Cooperative”.

On the northern side, Daba Mayor Harry K. Brower Jr. sent a letter to Nuixut residents on Tuesday saying that “there is no need to leave the community.”

“There are no impacts or risks to the surrounding community, other than the potentially noticeable unpleasant smell outside the city and near the property or when the wind changes,” Brewer said. “No evacuation was considered or deemed necessary”.

Alaska Division spokesman Jeremy Zidek said ConocoPhillips monitors air quality in the leak area and in the community using handheld sensors known as “sniffers” and other cassettes that capture the air and need to be sent for analysis. Information on national security and emergency management.

“The gas was not found by portable reconnaissance units within a short distance of the wells where it was found,” Zidek said. He said. “The gas disperses into the atmosphere very quickly.”

Lois Epstein, an engineer and consultant who spoke with village officials Thursday, said cracks were observed at the drilling site, which could be caused by pressure caused by constant freezing heating, seismic activity, failure of equipment or other factors.

“The cracks aren’t good,” he said. “We don’t really know what’s causing it.”

The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which oversees oil and gas drilling in the state, is investigating the spill. Grace Salazar, the commission’s special assistant, said she could not comment until the investigation was completed.

“We are interested in ConocoPhillips and are closely monitoring the situation,” he said.

Nuixut’s population is in a drilling boom Ten years ago, it was run by Repsol North America, a Spanish oil and gas company about 28 miles from the village. About 42,000 gallons of drilling mud was poured into the tundra, and several residents later complained of respiratory diseases.

Neighborhood residents also said they were concerned that their village needed ConocoPhillips gas to heat their homes. On Thursday morning, temperatures in Nyxut were minus 21 degrees Fahrenheit.

“It would be a huge emergency if they lose their gas supply,” said Epstein, a consultant. “There has to be some level of evacuation.”

Village officials held emergency meetings this week to discuss evacuation plans and told residents to prepare to leave as soon as possible.

“This is a very controversial issue,” said a local official, speaking on condition of anonymity so as not to offend others in a company heavily dependent on the oil and gas industry. “The village is very divided. There are families directly involved. “We fear we have family members who will lose their jobs.”

City officials are also concerned about how schools and essential services should be managed as more residents are evacuated.

Cherry Tremarko, principal of Nuixut Trapper School, said some students are dropping out of school and justifying children whose families don’t feel comfortable coming to school.

“We have an open school,” he said. “We want to keep everything normal”.

Source: Washington Post