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saltwater disposal

Lightning And Oil Country: A Volatile Mix

Aug 28, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Dozens of times during the summer as the rain picks up here on the prairie, suddenly, there’s a flash.

“You can be sitting there watching it, enjoying the night and all the sudden, boom!” said Kyle Chernenko, a resident of Grassy Butte.

Chernenko has watched these prairie thunderstorms his whole life from his home in North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch. He’s the volunteer fire chief in this small town.

A lightning strike earlier this week in western North Dakota’s oil patch led to a large spill at a saltwater disposal site.

Lightning struck the site Monday night near Grassy Butte, about 15 miles from where firefighters have spent the first half of the week battling a wildfire.

 

The lightning caused a separate fire that burned through 18 tanks, according to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources.