A pipeline leak has resulted in a spill of an undetermined amount of crude oil into an unnamed tributary of the Wind River north of Crowheart on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
The Northern Arapaho Business Council told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday morning that, according to information provided by the contractor operating the pipeline, MI3 Petroleum Engineering, the spill began at about 3:45 p.m.Monday. About four hours later a leak clamp was installed, which contained the spill.
About 34 barrels of liquids were released, of which 2% was oil. The rest was water. The company doesn’t believe that any waterways were impacted as a result of the incident, according to the council, and cleanup is ongoing.
The contractor is managed by the Wind River Energy Commission.
Kimberly Mazza, public information supervisor with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, told Cowboy State Daily that the department was notified of the incident late afternoon Tuesday.
Mazza said inspectors with the department have visited the site and are continuing to monitor the situation.
“We’re working to get more accurate information to the public as it comes forward,” Mazza said, adding that MI3 is working with the tribes to clean up the spill.
The Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes in 2021 took over operations and control of the Circle Ridge oil field near Crowheart after years of leasing to large operator Marathon Oil Co., and later Merit Energy Operations.
According to the 2021 annual report by the Liquid Energy Pipeline Association, total incidents involving pipelines in the United States were down 17% over the last five years. In 2021, 64% of pipeline incidents were less than five barrels and 84% were less than 50 barrels.
Photo: An undetermined amount of oil spilled into a tributary of the Wind River on the Wind River Indian Reservation on Monday. (Courtesy Photo)