Release reported in North Dakota

Release of so-called source water follows one of largest spills in state history.

By Daniel J. Graeber

BISMARCK, N.D., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A division of Hess Corp. spilled more than 2,000 barrels of water used during oil production at a site southwest of Tioga, the North Dakota government said.

The North Dakota Department of Health said it was notified by the company of the release of so-called source water, which is used during oil production, from an area pipeline.


"This water is higher in dissolved solids and minerals than fresh water," the Department of Health said in a Thursday notification. "The responsible party has initiated cleanup."

The water was used during a process known as enhanced oil recovery, a technique that involves flow stimulation from steam, gas or chemical injections into the well. There was no statement on public health concerns

Analysis last year from Wood Mackenzie finds enhanced oil recovery is still in its infancy in U.S. shale plays like Bakken in North Dakota. The emerging shale technology could result in a 100 percent increase in recovery rates and add between 1.5 million and 3 million barrels per day in oil production by 2030.

This week's release is the second reported so far this month. Summit Midstream this week said around 70,000 barrels of produced water were released into a North Dakota creek, one of the largest releases of its kind in state history.


North Dakota is the second largest oil producer in the United States thanks in part to increased output from shale deposits.

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