Mountrail County oil well now under control | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Mountrail County oil well now under control

Oct 21, 2015

An out of control oil well in Mountrail County has finally been subdued after being pumped full of mud and clay. Prairie Public Radio’s Emily Guerin reports the well had been spraying oil since late Saturday night.

According to the North Dakota Department of Health, most of the approximately 480,000 gallons of oil and salt water that spilled stayed on the well pad, unlike other, more dramatic blowouts that gush oil high into the air. But some was carried by the wind into the near-by White Earth River, where Oasis Petroleum placed booms on the water to keep spilled oil and brine from flowing downstream into Lake Sakakawea.

Bill Suess with the Department of Health says because so much of the oil stayed on the well pad, the impacts should be light.

“White Earth River is looking good. We saw no sheen beyond that first set of booms.”

The state’s Department of Mineral Resources initially suspected the blowout happened when a near-by oil well was being fracked. Now, officials say the accident may have been caused by a faulty valve on the well itself.