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Extreme cold leads to saltwater spills at North Dakota wells

February 11, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Cold temperatures contributed to three recent saltwater spills at oil and gas wells in the North Dakota oil patch.

The state Oil and Gas Division says the spills happened Friday near New Town and Williston and Saturday near Manning. They totaled 940 barrels, or nearly 39,500 gallons.

All three leaks were contained on-site, and most of the spilled saltwater has already been recovered. Saltwater, or brine, is a byproduct of energy production.

The spills were reported by Marathon Oil, Oasis Petroleum and Lime Rock Resources, who cited equipment malfunctions. Oil and Gas Division spokeswoman Katie Haarsager tells The Bismarck Tribune that initial reports indicate freezing temperatures were a factor in all three incidents.

The National Weather Service says Williston hit a record 43 degrees below zero on Friday.

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