Around $100 million of natural gas is burnt into the air each month by oil producers in North Dakota, according to a study scheduled for release today.
One third of the natural gas drilled off the Bakkenshale oil fields in North Dakota is being let to dissipate in the air by oil producers, informs a Reuters report on MSN News. The gas thus wasted is valued at more than $100 million a month, says the report.
A story on this topic in The Dickinson Press explains that natural gas drilled along with oil cannot be stored like oil in tanks and needs to be piped immediately to a processing facility. The story tells that gas flaring in these fields has increased three-fold in the past three years and while in Alaska and Texas, gas flaring makes less than 1% of that extracted, in North Dakota fields flared gas formed about 29% of the total gas extracted in the state in May 2013.
This is not the first time wasted gas is being pointed at in the state. In September 2011, a New York Times story drew attention to “flames of wasted natural gas” which is treated as a waste by producers who are more interested in the oil drilled off the Bakken shale field. According to the story, over 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is burned off in air daily from this field.
Earlier this month, Rigzone reported that production of oil and natural gas in North Dakota hit an all-time high in May this year with gas production reaching 899.9 million cubic feet per day. With the number of well completions rising by 10 to 143, over 90% drilling targeted the Bakken and Three Forks formations.