It’s happening again – The regulators are opposed to an initiative to that attaches a monetary responsibility to the wasteful habit of burning off natural gas. Refer to the story, “Bill seeks to curb flaring by charging taxes, royalties,” published Feb. 4.
As usual, the North Dakota Petroleum Council opposes the bill and the North Dakota Industrial Commission continues to allow flaring without penalty to continue beyond the compliance limit; resulting in gas burn off at 21 percent in November. The compliance rate is 12 percent.
The quantity flared in November was 527 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Compare that amount to the fact that natural gas consumption in all of North Dakota is about 307 million cubic feet daily. Then add the daily consumption rate in all of South Dakota which is about 223 cubic feet. The result finds that every structure in North Dakota and South Dakota could be heated with the gas that is wasted by the oil producers.
The oil producer’s motive is quick profit. When they have sucked the Bakken dry, they will suddenly depart to exploit another location. North Dakota will no longer benefit from the production of oil and natural gas.
The alternative could be “reduce oil extraction to the level that matches the amount of accompanying gas that can be processed and delivered.” The oil and gas left in the ground could be harvested when facilities are in place and North Dakota would remain an oil and natural gas exporter over the long term.
I contend that this problem rests with the governor and Legislature by allowing a cozy relationship with the oil producers to continue.