- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota regulators have scheduled a public hearing later this month on a new plan to reduce the flaring of natural gas in the western oil fields.

Officials with the Oil and Gas Division of the state Mineral Resources Department will hold the hearing at 9 a.m. on April 22 at the department offices in Bismarck. They also are accepting written comments through the close of business on April 21. Comments can be submitted to [email protected]

North Dakota drillers currently burn off, or flare, more than 30 percent of the valuable gas - compared to the national average of less than 1 percent - because the development of gas pipelines and processing facilities hasn’t kept pace with oil drilling. The state’s oil production has nearly doubled since 2012 as energy companies have cracked the Bakken shale formation, and North Dakota now trails only Texas in crude production.

The state Industrial Commission, which regulates North Dakota’s energy industry, last month endorsed a policy to cut down the amount of natural gas that is burned off and wasted as a byproduct of oil production. One provision is that oil companies can’t drill a well until they craft natural gas capturing plans.

State regulators are seeking input on several matters, including exemptions and additional steps to reduce flaring.




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