Despite missing data from one of the largest natural gas-producing states in the nation, an EnergyWire analysis released Monday found that the U.S. oil and gas industry was responsible for at least 7,662 spills, blowouts, and leaks in 2013 – an average of about 20 spills per day.

The figure represents an 18 percent increase in the number of spills EnergyWire counted in 2012, when 6,546 accidents were tallied. Though most of the spills were small, their combined volume added up to more than 26 million gallons of oil, gas, hydraulic fracturing fluid, and other substances, the report said.

The increase in drilling accidents since 2012 is particularly jarring because the United States has not actually seen an increase in drilling sites. According to January data from the American Petroleum institute, the total number of wells in the country in 2013 stayed largely the same, actually decreasing one percent since 2012.

The decrease, according to API, is because the U.S. drilled substantially less gas wells in 2013, but increased its oil drilling – a trend seen most notably in Montana. There, spills were up 48 percent, largely in line with the 42 percent increase in rig count figures. In North Dakota’s booming Bakken […]

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