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Oil well leaking oil, gas plugged in North Dakota

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 13, 2014 at 5:32 pm •  Published: May 13, 2014

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — An oil well that leaked an unknown amount of oil, gas and other liquids over the weekend has been plugged in northwestern North Dakota, state officials said Tuesday.

The well sprayed mist and emitted hydrogen sulfide, prompting air-quality monitoring and road closures in the area near Tioga after it was discovered Friday. The spill was contained to the well site, according to the well owner, which said it was still assessing how much liquid leaked.

Denver-based Emerald Oil Inc. reported the incident to state regulators Friday. North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources issued a statement on the incident on Monday.

Emerald Oil CEO McAndrew Rudisill said a break in a pipe near the surface likely caused the problem during hydraulic fracturing operations. He said the well was "killed" on Monday and has since been plugged. Williams County Emergency Manager Mike Hallesy confirmed the leak was under control by Tuesday.

But some of the mist migrated off site. Levels of hydrogen sulfide — a potentially dangerous product of the natural gas that is usually burned off or captured at well sites — were down to 10 parts per million Tuesday morning, prior to the well being plugged, said Terry O'Clair, the state Health Department's air quality director. Hallesy had reported hydrogen sulfide levels at 20 parts per million a day earlier.

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