More natural gas is burned as waste in North Dakota than in any other state in the USA.
More than $100 million a month of natural gas is going up in flames but now, new legislation is being passed to crack down on this wasteful practice, thereby giving rise to an opportunity for certain companies with the expertise to overcome this environmental problem.
Natural gas flaring problems are concentrated in newer areas that have helped transform the United States’ energy production over the last decade.
In the USA the wasting of precious natural gas resources isn’t some new phenomenon.
It has been a regular practice for more than a century.
Indeed there is one egregious example of wasted natural gas taking place as far back as the 1880s.
Globally, a lot of natural gas is being vented and the World Bank has suggested that as much as 140 billion cubic meters is burned off annually, causing in excess of 300 million tons of CO2 emissions.
Recently, oil companies and officials from nine countries agreed to kick-start an initiative to end natural gas flaring – in its entirety – by 2030.
In 2011 North Dakota produced about 157 billion cubic feet of natural gas but flared over one-third of it, thereby demonstrating the kind of waste they are talking about.
Environmentalists are totally opposed to the wasteful practice of flaring natural gas and quite understandably see the oil and gas companies as being hell-bent on stealing every last cent while ravaging the environment.
Additionally, the anti-flaring stance of many landowners arise from the fact that the practice of flaring takes money out of their pockets due to lost royalties.
To overcome the problem of excessive flaring immediate legal enforcement of investment is required.
North Dakota has launched an investment programme target aiming to reduce flaring to 10 per cent of its gas produced by 2020 and eventually lowering the threshold to 5 per cent.
William H Ronksley
Pond Road, Stannington, Sheffield, S6