As you’re well aware by now, North Dakota’s oil production has grown at an incredible rate since 2008, and expected to pump more than 1.1 million barrels per day this month.
The problem is that there’s one side-effect that’s come with this tremendous production growth — an exorbitant amount of gas flaring.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, with data from the North Dakota Industrial Commission
This, of course, is mostly thanks to a severe lack in the infrastructure. Without that infrastructure in place, companies believe it’s more profitable to burn the gas off at the wellhead.
Yet, new regulations have given the state’s industry new goals…
Currently, North Dakota aims to capture and sell about 78% of total natural gas that is emitted, or to flare only 22% of the natural gas output.
Now, one of the main reasons why gas is flared, however, is because venting it is illegal in North Dakota. It’s not the safest of practices to begin with, and not doing so eliminates the possibility of emitting hazardous materials into the air.
That’s also not to mention that the gas is extremely flammable.
And although we’ve seen drilling activity fall off a cliff over the last year and a half, companies in the Bakken have become much more efficient at extracting their oil, which in turn increased natural gas withdrawals. tural gas withdrawals.
Last year — in North Dakota alone — the volume of flared gas reached 0.35 billion cubic feet per day, which accounted for roughly half of the total flared or vented gas in the United States.
And going forward, gas processing capacity in North Dakota is expected to reach 1.6 billion cubic feet per day, practically matching the current gross withdrawals.
One of the issues is that there’s a different mix of gases and liquids that are produced as a byproduct during oil production. As you know, both “wet gas” (which includes methane, ethane, and propane), and “dry gas” can be produced from this stream… and the liquids can’t be left in the dry stream, given the specifications that limit both its quantity and heat content.
In fact, natural gas from the Bakken has higher levels of ethane than gas from other areas.
It has the second highest heat content of natural gas (that is delivered to consumers) in the US, and that limits the amount of ethane that processing plants can leave in the gas streams, and that is due to limited natural gas plant liquid storage capacity.
Until next time,
A true insider in the technology and energy markets, Keith’s research has helped everyday investors capitalize from the rapid adoption of new technology trends and energy transitions. Keith connects with hundreds of thousands of readers as the Managing Editor of Energy & Capital, as well as the investment director of Angel Publishing’s Energy Investor and Technology and Opportunity.
For nearly two decades, Keith has been providing in-depth coverage of the hottest investment trends before they go mainstream — from the shale oil and gas boom in the United States to the red-hot EV revolution currently underway. Keith and his readers have banked hundreds of winning trades on the 5G rollout and on key advancements in robotics and AI technology.
Keith’s keen trading acumen and investment research also extend all the way into the complex biotech sector, where he and his readers take advantage of the newest and most groundbreaking medical therapies being developed by nearly 1,000 biotech companies. His network includes hundreds of experts, from M.D.s and Ph.D.s to lab scientists grinding out the latest medical technology and treatments. You can join his vast investment community and target the most profitable biotech stocks in Keith’s Topline Trader advisory newsletter.