Energy Environment North Dakota

300 Oil Spills, 750 “incidents” Unreported in North Dakota

According to the Associated Press, at least 300 oil spills and 750 “oil field incidents” have occurred in North Dakota since January of last year and none of them were reported to the public.

The only reason we know about them now is because the Associated Press obtained the records.

According to records obtained by The Associated Press, the pipeline spills — many of them small — are among some 750 “oil field incidents” that have occurred since January 2012 without public notification. [...]

Records obtained by the AP show that so far this year, North Dakota has recorded 139 pipeline leaks that spilled a total of 735 barrels of oil. In 2012, there were 153 pipeline leaks that spilled 495 barrels of oil, data show. A little more than half of the spills companies reported to North Dakota occurred “on-site,” where a well is connected to a pipeline, and most were fewer than 10 barrels. The remainder of the spills occurred along the state’s labyrinth of pipelines.

North Dakota also had 291 “incidents” this year that leaked a total of about 2,209 barrels of oil. Data show that all but 490 barrels were contained and cleaned up at the well site. In 2012, there were 168 spills reported that leaked 1,089 barrels of oil; all but 376 barrels were contained on site, data show. Only one incident — a crash involving an oil truck last year — was reported publicly.

The state is not required by law to report these incidents to the public, and if you think that sounds like a very industry-friendly policy, you’d be right.

Incidents like these may reshape the public debate if the public was aware of them.

According to the Associated Press report, even local farmers who live and raise crops on the edge of pipelines and wells are often kept in the dark about spills and “incidents.”

I wonder who they voted for.

  • Paula Marie

    I am sorry, I’m not terribly computer savvy. Is there any way to post a story from your website to facebook without including the comment section?

  • D_C_Wilson

    Don’t you just love living in a age where everyone knows what Miley Cyrus had for breakfast, but no one knows if an oil pipeline is leaking onto their property?

  • trgahan

    The rebuttal will be that these spills are no big deal so why report them? To which only the corners of the internet, such as here, will reply that if they are not a big deal, why pass a law forbidding their report? Everyone else will be too scared to get hit with the “unfriendly to business” label to say anything more. I am sure the North Dakota legislature is rushing to have such records sealed from now on.

    BTW, the local farmers voted for whomever signs the royalty check for the well and/or pipeline right-of-way (otherwise it gets moved 10 feet onto the neighbor’s property)…cause they don’t need to outside money source supporting their hard working, boot strap raise to greatness…er something.