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  Well Blowout Under Control  
December 15, 2012  
By Eloise Ogden-Regional Editor
(, Minot Daily News
VAN HOOK - A blowout at a well near Van Hook now is under control, said a spokeswoman for the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Friday.

"Crews were able to regain control around 5 a.m. today, after the well stopped flowing," said Alison Ritter, the department's public information officer. She said the clean-up process is still ongoing.

Ritter said the department will continue to monitor the clean-up effort, and will require a follow-up spill report within 10 days of the completion of the cleanup.

The Slawson Exploration Co. well erupted Wednesday night, spewing out oil, gas and formation water and covering the nearby land with a yellow mist.

The well site is about 2 miles east of Van Hook and near Lake Sakakawea. Officials said there was no threat to the public or the lake, but measures were taken to prevent the mixture coming out of the well from reaching the lake.

Van Hook is a resort community about 9 miles southeast of New Town in southern Mountrail County.

Kyle Waliezer, Rockies area superintendent for Slawson Exploration Co., said an equipment malfunction caused workers to lose control of the well Wednesday night. The cause is under investigation. No one was injured in the incident.

A specialized team flew in from Houston on Wednesday night.

Workers built dikes around the well to contain the spill and prevent it from getting to a drainage area that could affect the lake. Waliezer said Slawson constructs its well sites so oil can be contained on site in the event of a spill.

He said Slawson also hired a firm to monitor gas levels in the area to ensure the safety of nearby residents.

"They've done an excellent job of trying to make sure they're safe and contained," Kris Roberts, an environmental geologist with the North Dakota state health department said.

The state Department of Mineral Resources and other agencies were on scene investigating. A safety officer from the Three Affiliated Tribes energy division also was monitoring the well, which lies within the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story)


Three Affiliated Tribes
404 Frontage Road
New Town, ND 58763