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Tioga well continues leaking oil days after spill

WILLISTON - An oil well near the town of Tioga, North Dakota continued to leak oil, gas and fracking fluid on Monday, days after authorities learned about the problem, a local official said.

The well is owned by Denver-based Emerald Oil.

Williams County emergency coordinator Mike Hallesy said he was notified Friday evening of the spill in the western North Dakota's oil patch and that the leak hadn't stopped.

The Department of Mineral Resources said the incident occurred at the Ron Burgundy 3-23-14H well, around eight miles northwest of Tioga.

Hallesy said that the site's wellhead failed during hydraulic fracturing, the process of a pressurized mix of water, sand and chemicals into a well to fracture rocks and promote the flow of oil and gas.

Alison Ritter, a public information officer with the Department of Mineral Resources, said the well is protected by a confidentiality agreement. As a result, she said, her office could disclose only the name of the well, its general location, its owner and that a spill had occurred. Information about confidential wells is withheld from the public for up to six months.

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Hallesy said that a reading taken 10 feet from the wellhead showed hydrogen sulfide levels of 20 parts per million. Hydrogen sulfide at levels of 100 parts per million can be life-threatening, he said.

Two farms located more than a quarter-mile from the site of the incident have been notified of the spill and about the hydrogen sulfide, Hallesy said. He added that a perimeter has been set up and the roads near the site have been closed down.

Hallesy said the spill had so far been contained with berms and that excess liquid was being trucked out of the area to disposal sites. He said he didn't have any information about the size of the spill yet.

Halliburton subsidiary Boots and Coots, a well control company, has been called to the well to try to stop the flow.

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