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Vol. 18, No. 34 Week of August 25, 2013
Providing coverage of Bakken oil and gas

Under 28 percent

ND gas flaring hits 22 month low; infrastructure gaining but still behind

By Mike Ellerd

For Petroleum News Bakken

Flaring of natural gas in North Dakota fell below 28 percent in June to a 22-month low of 27.6 percent according to statistics provided by the Oil and Gas Division of the North Dakota Industrial Commission’s Department of Mineral Resources.

The last time flaring in North Dakota was below 28 percent was in March 2011 when 27.2 percent of all natural gas produced in the state was flared. Flaring began a steady increase in April 2011 reaching a peak of 35.8 percent in September 2011. While there has been much fluctuation in the flaring percentages since that September 2011 peak, there has since been a distinct downward trend (see chart). The lowest flaring has been over the last two-and-a-half years was 14.5 percent in January 2010.

In addition to the overall decline in flaring, the percent of wells flared in the state due to a lack of pipeline infrastructure in June fell to approximately 13 percent, down from approximately 15 percent in May, an indication that gathering infrastructure is catching up with production.

North Dakota Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad, who monitors flaring in the state, says the new well connections are “right on par” with 175 wells brought on production in June and 175 new wells connected to gas sales. “That’s the type of progress we like to see,” Kringstad said in an Aug. 9 press conference.

August flaring applications

While progress continues on the flaring front in the state, operators continue to seek permission from the North Dakota Industrial Commission to flare wells in areas where gas gathering infrastructure is still not available. In July, 10 operators submitted applications to flare wells in 15 fields in six counties, and in August, nine operators submitted flaring applications for wells in 15 fields in seven counties.

Hess Corp. is looking for authorization to flare natural gas from all wells not connected to gathering infrastructure in five North Dakota fields until June 30, 2014, or earlier, by which time Hess believes it will have all of its wells in those five fields connected to gathering infrastructure. Those five fields are the Baskin and Robinson Lake fields in Mountrail County, and the Blue Buttes, Hawkeye and Sather Lake fields in McKenzie County.

SM Energy submitted applications to flare gas from all unconnected wells until June 2014 at the latest in the Ambrose, West Ambrose and Colgon fields in Divide County. SM Energy believes it will have all of its wells in the three Divide County fields connected to gas infrastructure by June 2014.

In the in the Clear Water and Kittleson Sough fields in Burke County, EOG Resources is seeking authorization to flare gas indefinitely from all unconnected wells. In addition, EOG submitted a joint application with Triangle Petroleum to flare indefinitely all wells not connected to gathering systems in the Rosebud field in Williams County, and EOG filed another joint application with Hunt Oil and Sinclair Oil to flare indefinitely all unconnected wells in the Parshall field in Mountrail and McLean counties.

WPX Energy Williston filed an application with the commission seeking permission to flare indefinitely all unconnected wells in the Moccasin Creek field in Dunn County. In addition, WPX filed joint applications with Enerplus Resources (USA) and Halcon Resources to flare gas indefinitely from all wells not connected to gathering infrastructure in the Eagle Nest and McGregory Buttes fields in Dunn County.

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