While North Dakota oil production dipped slightly during the month of July, the volume of flared gas jumped, reports the Bismarck Tribune.
During a monthly media briefing on state oil and gas production, North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms reported that in terms of percentage of gas flared, July saw flaring rates of 20 percent compared to the 18 percent seen the month prior.
Helms said, “On the flaring side, we took a step back. Every month, we’ve seen a slight increase in flared volume. Less gas flared is the real goal.” The record amount of gas flared peaked at 36 percent in September 2011. Last year, with the implementation of a new flaring policy, that percentage has been on a steady decline.
As reported by the Tribune, Helms said the increase in flaring was anticipated as infrastructure capacity was reached. However, two natural gas processing plants are expected to come online next year, which should alleviate the current strain placed on existing infrastructure. Helms said, “The key to reducing volume is building infrastructure in the core area,” where operators have shifted focus amidst the oil price decline.
Preliminary natural gas production figures for July estimate that statewide, nearly 1.66 billion cubic feet per day has been captured, up from the 1.65 billion cubic feet per day the previous month. Also up for the month of July was the number of total producing wells. The initial count for July was 12,940, compared to the 12,868 in June. Of these wells, 10,240 are producing in the Bakken and Three Forks shale formations.