Articles on flaring in Bakken and the new airport in Williston

One of the few wells I noticed with flaring during our September trip to North Dakota. Photo by James Ulvog.
One of the wells I noticed with flaring during our September trip to North Dakota. Seems to me there is a lot less flaring visible now compared to a year ago and two years ago. There is a drilling rig barely visible to the right of the left-most pump. I can pick out two other well sites in this wide view several miles off to the horizon. Photo by James Ulvog.

Here are a few more articles I read during our September vacation in Williston plus another article I’ve been holding since before vacation.

9/25 – Dickinson Press – Environmental group that bashed enforcement of N.D. gas capture policy withdraws analysis – An advocacy group incorrectly stated as a fact that 30 percent of North Dakota wells were non-compliant with flaring rules and the state wasn’t bothering to enforce the law.

The group withdrew their analysis because they did not understand either the flaring rules or the data and therefore reached incorrect conclusions.

State says that all wells required to have a gas capture plan do have one. Thus the actual non-compliance rate is zero.

The advocacy group doesn’t seem to have as good an understanding of energy as I do, which is scary.

Link to ABC news – Regulators extend, toughen pad flaring mandate (actual article seems to have disappeared) – Industrial Commission extended the deadline to have only 15 percent of gas flared from 1/1/15 to 11/1/15.

The long term goal has been dropped from 10% to between 7% and 9% by 2020.

Oh, by the way, the invalid and methodologically bankrupt study mentioned in the first article above was used as an argument to oppose the action taken by the state regulators to postpone the flaring deadline.

9-24- Williston Herald  – New airport gets OK, $27M from feds (print edition, so no link) – The environmental impact statement came back without any significant findings which allowed the FAA to give final approval for the new airport. Article says no more permissions are needed.

The number of passenger boardings (your new vocabulary for the day is enplanements) had risen from 7,800 in 2007 to 12,900 in 2014. Those are monthly numbers.

The new airport runway will be long enough to handle planes carrying up to 220 passengers which is an increase from the current limit of planes that can carry 50 passengers.

9/14 – Reuters at – North Dakota may let more oil wells be temporarily idled – Currently North Dakota oil regulators require a well to be completed and start producing within a year of when it was drilled. If production is not started in that time the well has to be filled in.

Article says the regulators are thinking of letting drillers have more time. This would delay cash flow and keeps the oil in the ground. Sort of like keeping money in the bank.

At a strategic level this would bring down North Dakota production which would help alleviate the momentary oversupply of oil. On a longer-term basis this would allow the North Dakota shale oil industry to become an on-demand producer.

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