By Steph Scheurer
Flaring is a hot topic in North Dakota.
The North Dakota Industrial Commission recently adopted a new policy to reduce flaring.
Now the community and industry experts voice their opinions on how to fix flaring.
Steph Scheurer takes us inside this timely debate on Earth Day.
25 people sign up to testify on a technical standpoint to look at ways to enforce production rates and restrictions.
“WPX is confident that the gas capture program can be successful if restrictions on production are not used as a tool to reduce development commitment,” says Jeremy Conger, WPX Energy.
Different energy companies all make their pitch… to try and fix the problems that go along with flaring.
Along with North Dakota’s booming oil industry…
Around 30 percent of natural gas is going up in smoke.
“North Dakota has the highest flaring rate in the United States and if the industry can comply with other states for stricter standards, then why can’t they comply here,” says Theodora Bird Bear, Chairperson, Dakota Resource Council, Oil & Gas Task force.
That’s what the Dakota Resource Council is working on right now.
Currently they recommend there only be three instances when flaring is allowed.
“It’s so excessive out in western North Dakota and it would be for emergency flaring, if they lost control of the well and needed to protect the safety of the public or workers and also for production testing and I think it’s called well-purging,” says Bird Bear.
Alison Ritter with the Department of Mineral Resources says there’s a fine line companies have to walk when dealing with all of these issues.
But everyone can agree flaring in North Dakota needs to be improved, as the state reaps the benefits of the oil boom.
“You can’t produce oil without producing natural gas and so what rates and restrictions do we put on those oil wells so we’re not damaging oil production and damaging a great industry and a great product in our state while we also can reduce the flaring and prevent that waste,” says Alison Ritter, Public Information Officer, Dept. Mineral Resources.
“It takes time to install infrastructure in the basin and it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at it,” says Brent Miller.
The hearing panel will evaluate the testimonies and write an order which will go to the industrial commission within the next 30 to 60 days.
The commission will then decide what needs to change…
To help harness the other booming industry in the state.
The North Dakota Petroleum Council’s goal is to capture 85 percent of the natural gas that is being burned off, within two years and 90 percent by 2020.