The state department also said that the exact volume of the leak is yet to be determined. What's more, an earlier statement from the Unified Command Task Force tackling the spill said that the amount of oil leaked was small compared to the amount of gas that is being released.
"BP is in the process of shutting in a well at the Prudhoe Bay oil field that experienced an unplanned release of hydrocarbon", said Brett Clanton, a BP spokesman in Houston. The authorities have not established yet, what prompted the well to discharge oil and gas. The good news is that based on aerial photographs of the well, the oil spill was contained in the gravel pad of the rig that is pumping oil and gas from the well.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says the spill is ongoing and the volume is unknown.
The leak was discovered on Friday and a team from BP, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local government was brought in to coordinate efforts. But its infamous 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill focused the world's attention on the environmental and economic importance of the Gulf of Mexico. North Slope production was up to 565,000 barrels a day in March, its highest level since December 2013.
The agency says the initial oil release may have affected an area of about one hectare and there were no reports of damage to wildlife.
Oil field workers have reduced the pressure in an oil well that is leaking natural gas on Alaska's frozen North Slope. On April 7, Hilcorp announced that it would cut off the flow of natural gas in the most recent leak and fill the line with filtered seawater.