KEENE, N.D. – An oil well blowout released more than 25,000 gallons of crude oil at a site in McKenzie County, and state health officials said they were still evaluating whether any of it reached a tributary of the Missouri River.
Petro-Hunt LLC reported that 600 barrels of crude was released from the well and wasn’t contained on the site roughly one mile northwest of Keene, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.
Karl Rockeman, the department’s director of water quality, said department personnel were on site evaluating the extent of the spill, including whether oil reached a drainage about a mile and a half south of the well. The drainage flows into Clear Creek, which eventually drains north into the Missouri River, he said.
No one was injured, and the cause of the blowout wasn’t known, he said.
Petro-Hunt reported the blowout to State Radio on Friday morning, and the health department was notified just before 7 a.m. Rockeman said.
Fred Hosey, general counsel for Petro-Hunt, said Friday the release was under control and cleanup is underway. A drilling contractor and crew were on location at the time of the incident, Hosey said.
“Wind will definitely affect which way that oil goes off location,” he said, noting the wind was from the south and southeast about 4:30 p.m. Friday.
The land around the site is primarily farmland, he said.
“We’ll be working with the company to ensure that they get it cleaned up,” he said.
The oil well is on confidential status, so the Department of Mineral Resources could not comment on the incident, spokeswoman Alison Ritter said.