Crews to continue work on well spraying oily mistCrews resumed work Friday on an oil well about nine miles west of Parshall that has been spraying an oily mist into the air.
PARSHALL, N.D. (AP) — Crews resumed work Friday on an oil well about nine miles west of Parshall that has been spraying an oily mist into the air.
Workers initially addressed the issue Thursday afternoon using the bucket of a backhoe but had to stop because of the risk of a static spark, The Forum reported.
“One spark would have been one way too many,” said North Dakota Department of Health environmental geologist Kris Roberts.
The well sprayed oil, gas and water containing brine, and the mist drifted more than 2,000 feet to the southwest of the well before the wind shifted north. The amount of oil released is not yet known, Roberts said.
Kyle Waliezer, Rockies area superintendent for Slawson Exploration Co., said an equipment malfunction caused workers to lose control of the well Wednesday night. The cause is under investigation. No one was injured in the incident.
A specialized team flew in from Houston on Wednesday night and was continuing its work Friday.
Roberts said the well did not pose any danger to public health and there was no need for evacuations. He said Lake Sakakawea, which is less than one mile to the south of the well, is not at risk.
Workers constructed dikes around the well site to contain the spill and prevent it from getting to a drainage area that could affect the lake. Waliezer said Slawson constructs its well sites so oil can be contained on site in the event of a spill.
He said Slawson also hired a firm to monitor gas levels in the area to ensure the safety of nearby residents.
“They've done an excellent job of trying to make sure they're safe and contained,” Roberts said.
Cleanup crews will not begin working until the well is contained, Roberts said.
The state Department of Mineral Resources and other agencies were on scene investigating. A safety officer from the Three Affiliated Tribes energy division also was monitoring the well, which lies within the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.