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News Releases from Region 10

BP Exploration Alaska and Hilcorp Alaska settle with EPA and State of Alaska for North Slope oil spills

Contact Information: 
Mark MacIntyre (macintyre.mark@epa.gov)

(Seattle)  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled with petroleum exploration and development companies, BP Exploration Alaska and Hilcorp Alaska, for Clean Water Act violations following oil spills on Alaska’s North Slope. BP Exploration Alaska agreed to settle related violations with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in a parallel agreement.

Under the settlement framework, Hilcorp Alaska will pay $100,000 in federal penalties to resolve their alleged violations, while BP will pay $100,000 in state penalties and $30,000 in federal penalties to the Oil Spill Prevention Liability Trust Fund.

According to Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA’s office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, petroleum developers, producers and transporters have a special responsibility to protect Alaska’s North Slope tundra.

“Alaska’s North Slope tundra is one of the earth’s harshest, yet most delicate ecosystems,” said EPA’s Kowalski. “So petroleum developers must do everything in their power - year round - to prevent spills and avoid releasing toxic chemicals to fragile wetlands or other important wildlife habitat. Our enforcement efforts are aimed squarely at protecting Alaska and Alaskans from the effects of spills and accidental releases.”

The Clean Water Act prohibits oil or hazardous substance spills that may harm people’s health or the environment and requires concrete actions to prevent future spills. Oil spills can also harm animal and plant life, including contaminating food sources and nesting habitats. The BP Exploration Alaska and Hilcorp Alaska oil spills affected arctic tundra wetlands in an area inhabited by caribou and other native wildlife including snow buntings, ptarmigan, white-fronted geese, and gulls. 

In April 2014, BP Exploration Alaska released approximately 700 gallons of natural gas, crude oil, and produced water onto 33 acres of arctic tundra and gravel pad. The spill was caused by a freezing rupture in the dead leg section of BP’s H Pad Well 8 three-phase flowline. 

In February 2015, Hilcorp Alaska spilled nearly 10,000 gallons of crude oil and produced water onto 40,000 square feet of arctic tundra and gravel pad. The spill resulted from a leak in the bottom of a pipeline from Hilcorp’s Milne Point Tract 14 production line.

Learn more about EPA’s oil spills prevention and preparedness regulations at: