According to a press release from the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC), a task force has been formed to lead the industry’s efforts to drastically reduce natural gas flaring in North Dakota’s Bakken oilfields.
The Flaring Task Force will officially address the North Dakota Industry Commission (NDIC) at 1:15 p.m. on October 22, 2013, and will present a report to the commission later this year that includes recommendations to reduce flaring.
“We recognize that natural gas is an efficient, clean and valuable resource, and that’s why the industry has invested more than $6 billion in new pipelines, processing plants and other infrastructure to move it from the wellhead to the marketplace,” said Terry Kovacevich, NDPC chairman and regional vice president for Marathon Oil. “This is a significant investment, but we are committed to making North Dakota the model of a modern, efficient and technology-driven oilfield.”
When the Bakken was confirmed to be an invaluable world recourse, output and capacity in North Dakota gas plants has increased by 340 percent from the pre-boom 227 million cubic feet per day, to the now 1 billion cubic feet per day. Irrespective of the increase, capacity continues to lag behind production partially to challenges in infrastructure because experts did not realize the volume and composition of natural gas in the Bakken.
“We have to remember that the Bakken is still a very young play, and this is just one factor in why production has outpaced our ability to build the infrastructure needed. Furthermore, the Bakken is unlike any other play in the world and requires solutions specifically tailored to its geology, climate, landscape and resources,” said Kovacevich.
Task force members will acquire information, knowledge, and experiences of companies in the Bakken to pinpoint solutions that will enhance and optimize natural gas at the wellhead and build on the existing infrastructure to transport gas for processing elsewhere. Public education and working with other entities who have vested interest in natural gas flaring will also be a main focus of the task force. The group will work collaboratively with government agencies, the Three Affiliated Tribes, researchers, landowners and key industry players.
“This is a very complex issue without any single simple solution,” said John Paganis, commercial director for Murex Petroleum and co-chair for the Task Force. “Our task force will offer balanced, effective solutions for policy makers and regulators to ensure we keep oil development on pace while making the investments in infrastructure and new technologies to capture more of our natural gas.”
“The member companies of the NDPC want to responsibly develop the natural resources in North Dakota and America. We also want to optimize the development of our oil and natural gas resources in North Dakota, but this will take significant investments of time and money and will require collaborative efforts between the industry, landowners, government agencies and a number of other key stakeholders,” said Kovacevich. “North Dakotans have a long history of sitting down and working together to find solutions that will meet the needs of all. We are confident that with time, all of the key stakeholders can work together to reach our goals of reducing flaring.”
(Photo Credit: Bakken.com)