spills chart

An oil pipeline rupture and the illegal spraying of dirt roads with wastewater from a natural gas operation were among more than 1,800 spills related to oil and gas production in New Mexico in fiscal year 2015, a sharp increase from the number of spills reported the previous year.

Growth in the volume of the spills from FY 2014 far outpaced growth in the volume of resources pumped out of the ground, says a recent Legislative Council Service report. The volume of spilled oil, wastewater and other fluids related to oil production alone increased 61 percent, the report said. Oil production for the same period was up by 23 percent.

Incidents covered in the report ranged from small oil spills to the discharge of thousands of barrels of wastewater, said Beth Wojahn, a spokeswoman for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. “The overwhelming majority of these releases only require a soil cleanup,” Wojahn said.

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