Bluecrest Energy is working to modify its oil spill response plan for its Cosmopolitan Unit just north of Anchor Point. The oil and gas producer currently has two active wells within the unit. Together, they produce nearly 1,100 barrels of oil per day.
Bluecrest’s application to modify its spill response plan comes after it found that the pressure in one of those wells was higher than expected – creating the potential for an “aerial plume” or blowout that could send oil flying into nearby waterways.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is reviewing Bluecrest’s application.
“Instead of gurgling to the surface, now if they had a blowout, you’d have the potential of an aerial plume that could extend up to three miles from the wellhead,” Michael Evans, who works for the department, said.
A blowout at the well could affect Cook Inlet and Stariski Creek as well as other waterways in the area. Oil and gas producers are allowed operate as modifications to their oil spill response plan are under review.
Evans said Bluecrest contracts with Cook Inlet Spill Prevention & Response or CISPRI for its oil spill response at the Cosmopolitan site. CISPRI currently has the ability to respond to water-based spills.
Evans says DEC may request more information than what is in Bluecrest’s application before it signs off on modifications to its response plan.
“In this case because it’s a major amendment, they will get a new certificate and a new approval letter that basically said, ‘hey, we reviewed what you said you were going to do and we agree with it,’” Evans explained.
The public can comment on the changes Bluecrest put forth in its application. The public comment period will close on Jan. 28 and any affected resident can request a public hearing before Jan. 14.