Repsol E&P USA, Inc. agreed to pay a penalty for alleged Clean Water Act violations at an oil exploration well pad on the North Slope, Alaska. According to a settlement announced on August 26 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the company’s exploration well drilling equipment leaked well testing fluids onto the frozen, snow-covered arctic tundra in April of 2013.
On April 9, 2013, a hose ruptured at Qugruk Well Pad #6, on the Colville River Delta. Well testing fluids from the ruptured hose were mostly collected in a secondary containment system. Up to 500 gallons of fluid sprayed beyond the containment area, and covered over an acre of frozen, snow-covered tundra. Within four days, the company completed a cleanup of the most impacted contaminated snow. Repsol agreed to pay a penalty of $30,500 to settle the allegations.
The company is an American subsidiary of the Spanish Repsol S.A.
“Preventative measures to protect sensitive ecosystems like the arctic tundra are very important to keep pollutants out of the environment and away from people,” said Jeff KenKnight, manager of EPA’s Clean Water Act Compliance Unit in Seattle. “Holding companies accountable when they pollute the environment ensures that everyone is treated fairly, and promotes the use of precautionary spill prevention procedures.”