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Barrow gas field leak discovered

February 22nd, 2013 | Carey Restino Print this article   Email this article  

While thousands gathered in Barrow for Kivgiq, the North Slope Borough had more than traffic and dignitaries to deal with - a small gas leak was found in the East Barrow gas field, one of several that provide the city with natural gas.

Richard Camilleri , advisor to the North Slope Borough mayor, said Tuesday that the leak was discovered in a well that has some of its structure underground. Preliminary examination indicated that water entered the housing structure for the pipe and froze, Camilleri said. When the water was discovered, crews tried to thaw it, at which time, the leak was discovered. It was small enough not to be a concern, though the area of Gaswell Road beyond Cakeeater Road is closed at the East Field beyond the KBRW Tower until further notice.

Camilleri said the area is a popular caribou hunting spot.

"The levels are low enough that there's no risk for an immediate explosion," he said.

In fact, the leak has probably already been sealed for the time being with ice as crews ceased trying to thaw the pipe until repair crews could arrive.

"We want to have the time to get the right people here and thaw it on our own terms," he said.

Camilleri said the Barrow gas fields have leaks from time to time, but that it is not very common.

"The only thing it's impacting is caribou hunters at this time," he said.


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