3 million gallons of brine spill in N.D.

Nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater generated by oil drilling have leaked from a North Dakota pipeline, an official said Wednesday, the largest such spill since the state’s oil boom began and nearly three times worse than previous record spills. Two creeks have been affected, but the full environmental effect might not be clear for months.

Operator Summit Midstream Partners detected the pipeline spill on Jan. 6, about 15 miles north of Williston, and told health officials then. Officials said they were not given a full account of the size until Tuesday.

Cleanup has begun and inspectors have been monitoring the area, but it will be difficult to measure the effects on the environment and wildlife until ice melts, said Dave Glatt, chief of the North Dakota Department of Health’s environmental health section. Some previous saltwater spills have taken years to clean up.

“This is not something we want to happen in North Dakota,” Glatt said.

At the moment, the spill does not threaten public drinking water or human health, Glatt said. He said a handful of farmers have been asked to keep their livestock away from the two creeks, the smaller of which will be drained.

The saltwater, known as brine, is an unwanted byproduct of oil and natural gas production that is much saltier than sea water and may also contain petroleum and residue from hydraulic fracturing operations.

The new spill is almost three times larger than one that fouled a portion of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in July.

— Associated Press

EBay to cut 2,400 jobs, spin off PayPal

EBay plans to cut 2,400 jobs, or 7 percent of its staff, in the first quarter to simplify its structure and boost profit ahead of a planned separation of its business.

The e-commerce company also reported Wednesday that its fourth-quarter net income rose 10 percent on the continued strength of its PayPal payments business, which it expects to spin off in the second half of the year.

The e-commerce company said the job cuts fall across its marketplaces, PayPal and enterprise businesses. The San Jose-based company announced plans Wednesday to spin off or sell the enterprise unit, which develops online shopping sites for brick-and-mortar retailers.

EBay has been under pressure to improve profitability from its largest activist investor, Carl Icahn, who has a nearly 8 percent stake in the company.

Icahn has pushed eBay to sell off PayPal, which is eBay’s best-performing unit. Total payment volume grew 24 percent in the fourth quarter and revenue rose to $2.2 billion, about 45 percent of total revenue for the quarter.

PayPal services $1 of every $6 spent online. It collects fees from more than 162 million users who send money to other users and pay for goods and services in more than 200 markets.

Meanwhile, eBay said its net income in the October-to-December quarter came to $936 million, or 75 cents per share, from $850 million, or 65 cents per share in same quarter the year before. Revenue rose 9 percent, to $4.92 billion from $4.53 billion.

— Associated Press

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