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Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham is an independent journalist, covering oil and gas, energy and environmental policy, and international politics. He is based in Portland, Oregon. 

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The Gas Flaring Crisis In The U.S. Oil Patch

Flaring

In its relentless pursuit of oil, the shale industry continues to burn more and more gas into the air.

The rate of flaring in the Permian basin reached a record high in the first three months of this year, averaging 661 million cubic feet per day (MMcfd), according to Rystad Energy. That is more than double the amount of flaring for the same period from a year earlier.

Things are not that much better in North Dakota. Bakken shale drillers flared and vented about 500 MMcfd in the first quarter of 2019, Rystad estimates. Together, the shale industry in the Permian and the Bakken flared or vented 1.15 billion cubic feet per day in the first quarter. “Converting to the metric system for comparative purposes, that represents 12 billion cubic meters of wasted gas per year, which exceeds the yearly gas demand of nations such as Israel, Colombia and Romania,” Rystad Energy concluded. Related: OPEC+ Has Only One Choice As Oil Prices Slide

While the volumes are larger in the Permian, the industry is also much larger. Proportionally, the amount of gas flared or vented in the Bakken is actually worse. In the Permian, drillers are burning or venting about 5 percent of the gas that they extract out of the ground. In the Bakken, that share has topped 20…





Leave a comment
  • DonOldGuy on June 06 2019 said:
    In 1989, I sat in, then Congressman, later Senator Mark Andrews office. We discussed what reaction the East Coast dwellers would have upon discovering this problem. At the time I was also taking trips to Saudi Arabia where the night sky was illuminated by flared gas. Our citizens were paying a huge price in overall inflation As well as heating costs.
    Nothing has really changed.
  • TrueTexan Tex on June 06 2019 said:
    This is a sad sad state we have hit. We're supposed to be drilling for energy and money. This is a huge waste of everyone's time and money. Greed saturation point has been hit.

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