840 Gallons of Oil Spills Northwest of Killdeer

A large oilfield spill was reported in Dunn County over the weekend, spraying into a field 20 miles outside Killdeer. 

By Bryce Martin

ND Group Editor

The North Dakota Department of Health was notified Monday of a spill at a well site operated by Newfield Production Co.— a Denver-based oil company that is a subsidiary of Newfield Exploration Co.—approximately 20 miles northwest of Killdeer.

According to the Department of Health, the spill was located on Oct. 24, and was the result of a stuffing box leak that sprayed oil into an adjacent field. A stuffing box is made to prevent oil from escaping a well, while also diverting oil to a field storage tank.

Some of the oil had reached a small stock pond, the department reported.

The company reported to the department that about 20 barrels of oil were released, with 15 of those being recovered. Each barrel contains 42 gallons, bringing the total amount of oil spilled to 840 gallons.

Representatives from the Department of Health and the state’s Oil and Gas Division were on site to monitor the situation.

The average oil spill in the United States costs approximately $16 per gallon in cleanup and damages, according to a 2010 analysis authored by Mark Cohen, “A Taxonomy of Oil Spill Costs.” That would bring the cleanup cost of this spill to about $13,440.

The most recent large quantity spill in Dunn County was in April, when 20 gallons of crude oil was spilled. It was not reported to the Department of Health until one month after it occurred, but has since been contained.

According to the health department’s website, ndhealth.gov, several days before that a separate incident saw 39 gallons of oil being spilled. That has not been contained, according to the department.

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