N Dakota oil well blows out.
A North Dakota oil well owned by Oasis Petroleum blew out over the weekend and has yet to be capped, leaking more than 67,000 gallons of crude so far and endangering a tributary of the Missouri River, state officials said.
The cause of the blowout remains unknown, though state officials surmise it may have been caused by hydraulic fracturing of a nearby well in a situation referred to in the industry as "communication" between wells.
Thick gray smoke rose from the Helling Trust 11-15H well site as dozens of tractor-trailers hauled in vacuum trucks and other cleanup equipment. Oasis is trying to cap the well by pumping in a thick mixture of mud and clay, state officials said.
The blowout happened at 11 pm local time on Saturday. The company worked all weekend to regain control of the well, including flying in staff from its Houston headquarters, but so far efforts have been unsuccessful, according to state and local officials.
The well is about 15 miles south of White Earth, North Dakota, in Mountrail County, one of the more-prolific oil-producing regions in the state. Unlike most blowouts, this one did not produce a geyser of crude but a smaller burst roughly 5 ft in height that sprayed oil onto the well pad. Some of the oil pooled onto the pad and some was carried by a light wind to the White Earth River.
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