The website of a large oil refinery has been temporarily shut down in the United States as a precautionary measure.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said the shut down of the North Dakota facility, which is a major hub for crude oil production in the state, was prompted by a spike in oil and gas prices.

The shutdown comes as oil prices have plunged, triggering a national debate over the potential for fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, of oil and natural gas wells.

A spokesman for the U.K. energy regulator, which regulates energy production in that country, told The Associated Press on Monday that it had notified the state it was temporarily shutting down operations at the North Dakotan refinery, but that it would allow for a return to normal operations later.

A spokesperson for the Canadian oil industry, which owns the refinery, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

North Dakota is one of several states where shale gas production is growing as a way to reduce the need for drilling, but the industry has been plagued by environmental and safety concerns.

A report from the U;S.

State Department in December called for a moratorium on fracking in North Dakota as well as other shale states.