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Three hurt in Bakken well fire

A fire at a shale-oil well in North Dakota’s Bakken play has been ablaze for four days. Three workers at the drill site were injured, two are in a critical condition

Cyclone Drilling’s rig, which was under contract for Continental Resources, was near the town of Beach, Beaver Creek State, when it caught fire on Sunday morning (24 July).

Wild Well Control, which specialises in dealing with oil-related fires, began putting the blaze out on Monday morning. It is expected to take a week to fully extinguish the fire.

Continental Resources said the rig crew had completed drilling and was laying the drill pipe when the fire began. The blaze has caused extensive damage to the rig and a protective area has been built around the well to stop oil from escaping. The cause of the fire is unknown and is being investigated.

Cyclone, which has 16 rigs operating in North Dakota, said it “makes safety a priority” and that the company is focusing on aiding the injured workers and their families.

Continental says the Bakken and Three Forks shale formation could hold a recoverable 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe), including 20 billion barrels of crude and 4 billion boe of natural gas. The company produced 51,000 boe in first-quarter 2011, up by 34% from the same period last year.

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