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North Dakota Minimizes Natural Gas Flaring Even As Production Bounces Back, EIA Says

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The rate of natural gas flaring by North Dakota producers has fallen to an average of 7.5% this year through September, bringing the level of gas flaring at the production site’s wellhead to below l state goal for 2021, according to a new federal report.

North Dakota has set a gas capture target to keep flaring / venting at 8% of production or less.

The United States’ Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday that in early 2020, natural gas production in North Dakota plummeted due to impacts from the pandemic. Last year, production fell to 1.9 Bcf / d in May from 3.2 Bcf / d in March. But it quickly rebounded to near pre-pandemic levels, hitting 2.9 Bcf / d in October 2020.

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Throughout the recovery period, from April 2020 to September 2021, producers have met the state’s catch target for every month except July of this year, the EIA said.

Achieving capture targets “required construction” of collection lines to transport natural gas from wells to processing plants as well as upgrades to these plants to better allow the removal of impurities and heavier hydrocarbons from natural gas. , the EIA researchers said.

Data from the North Dakota Industrial Commission shows that natural gas processing capacity in the state increased to 3.4 Bcf / d in 2020 from 1 Bcf / d in 2013. The Commission expects it to exceed 4.0 Bcf / d by the end of this year.

In July 2014, North Dakota adopted natural gas capture targets in response to increased flaring in the Bakken and Three Forks formations, the EIA noted.

“The rapid development of hydrocarbon resources” in North Dakota had in the past “exceeded the capacity of regional infrastructure to process and transport the natural gas associated with crude oil production,” EIA researchers said. . “Flared natural gas produced from oil wells has increased due to insufficient collection and processing infrastructure. “

In 2013, they said, just before the new capture targets took effect, more than 30% of the natural gas produced in North Dakota had been flared. But building collection lines and upgrades to processing plants since then have helped the state gradually reduce that figure.

Oil and natural gas production in North Dakota, meanwhile, increased in September compared to August.

Natural gas production in September averaged 3.02 Bcf / d, according to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). This was up from 2.96 Bcf / d the month before.

Oil production also rose month / month to 1.113 million bpd, from 1.017 million bpd.


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