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Snuffing flares, North Dakota willing to let oil production take a hit to curb flaring
Petroleum New ^ | April 20, 2014 | Maxine Herr

Posted on 04/21/2014 10:59:28 AM PDT by thackney

Regulators are hopeful that excessive natural gas flaring will soon be a thing of the past in North Dakota. At a public hearing scheduled for April 22, the Mineral Resources director will listen to comments regarding production curtailment to reduce flaring in order to then draft an order to be voted on at the May Industrial Commission meeting. The order will have the force of law, according to Director Lynn Helms, and he hopes to have it take effect June 1 to coincide with the gas capture plans order.

In March, the commission voted to require a gas capture plan when an operator applies for a spacing unit. Upon application, the operator must show that it shared the gas capture plan with all available gas gathering companies for better construction coordination.

Outdated order doesn’t take massive Bakken into consideration

As the production curtailment order reads today, an operator can flare for 60 days to test the well’s production, then for the next 60 days it must reduce production to 200 barrels per day, and then to 150 barrels for the next 60 days. At that point, it is restricted to 100 barrels per day until the well is connected to a gas gathering system. Further restrictions could come into play if air quality is disrupted or deteriorating. The commission wants to rewrite this order which dates back to the late 1980s when oil development was much smaller and flares could be put out quickly. Today, the Bakken covers 15,000 square miles and high gas production from one well often shuts off the gas coming from another well due to a lack of capacity in the gas pipeline. Helms said if the order were enforced today, it would curtail production by about 80,000 barrels of oil per day. “We need to look at what kind of curtailment is needed for those (wells) already connected,” Helms said. “The way the rules are now, as long as the well is connected, there are not restrictions. So we’re looking for input on what kinds of restrictions are appropriate for those already connected.”

Approximately half of the wells that are currently flaring in the state are connected to gas pipelines but are flared due to challenges or constraints on existing gathering systems, according to data from the N.D. Pipeline Authority.

Commission desires constructive comments

Helms said the hearing is expected to draw a large crowd, so telephonic testimony will not be allowed, and anyone wanting to speak will need to sign in beginning at 8 a.m. on that day. Comments will be limited to 15 minutes, including question and answer time. The commission is interested in hearing from operators about economic impacts of production curtailments to their drilling and completions and what cash flow issues would arise from various restriction scenarios. It is also hoping to hear from experts regarding air quality and whether that should be a basis for any restrictions. Helms added that perhaps operators that have a few wells that are flaring at a high rate, yet overall have proven to flare less than 5 percent statewide, should be given leniency.

“The two largest changes will be restrictions on wells connected and then the schedule for those restrictions,” Helms said.

The oil and gas division has been reviewing possible templates for a new order, including one presented to the North Dakota Petroleum Council flaring task force in September in which Helms suggested restrictions should take effect at certain cumulative oil intervals or when a well has paid out or is near payout.

“I threw that out there to get them thinking,” Helms said.

Industry decides to make its own recommendation

Initially, the flaring task force had determined it was not going to issue a recommendation since reaching a consensus would be too difficult due to the various business models for operators and midstream companies. However, the task force reconsidered and held an all-day meeting on April 3 for constructive discussion to answer the questions posed by Helms from an industry perspective. “I think we will present a unified front from industry which is important,” flaring task force Chairman Eric Dille told Petroleum News Bakken in an email. “The state is really asking companies to act in unison which is not typical of industry. This is probably good on this issue, but it may not work for other issues.”

Dille said the industry does not believe production curtailment is the best way to address the flaring issue because each operator needs to recover drilling, leasing and other costs. Instead, the task force will restate the target capture goals it presented to the commission in January. Dille said the state needs to let the process work and monitor it as gas capture plans will likely achieve those targets.

“If the NDIC must do anything because we are not reaching capture targets, then they should slow down the applications to drill in a way that we can plan for it from a business standpoint,” Dille said. “This will be a big problem for them though, because they have to decide who gets the next permit. Mineral owners and operators will not be happy and capital will likely leave the state for quicker rate of return.”

“There will be a reduction in oil production”

Though a new production restriction order would avoid the hefty 80,000-barrels-per-day drop, Helms still expects a notable reduction. “We’re probably looking at a 15,000 to 30,000 barrels per day type of range for production curtailment in order to reduce flaring,” Helms said. “We haven’t really quantified it, but we’ve looked at lots of different models. There will be a reduction in oil production as a result.”

Helms said the curtailment is necessary in order to modify the flaring curve, but with the million barrels a day mark within easy reach this spring, the oil production curve may not show a noticeable slump even with restrictions.

“Once we go over a million barrels a day, we’ll probably stay there,” Helms said. “The plan we come up with, and the timing of it, shouldn’t take us down below that.”

The hearing slated for April 22 begins at 9 a.m. at the Department of Mineral Resources office at 1000 East Calgary Avenue in Bismarck. The resulting order will become effective the day the commission approves it, but it doesn’t carry the force of law until 30 days after the vote to allow opportunity for a party to petition for reconsideration or appeal to district court.

TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: North Dakota
KEYWORDS: bakken; energy; naturalgas; oil

1 posted on 04/21/2014 10:59:29 AM PDT by thackney
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To: thackney
"if air quality is disrupted"

Doesn't natural gas flared off have essentially NO impact on air quality?

I burn natural gas in my kitchen. It's fine.

2 posted on 04/21/2014 11:09:17 AM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Mohammed was a Child Rapist and Islam is a Totalitarian Death Cult.)
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To: Uncle Miltie

It’s a quandary—even for non-enviros. It’s obviously a gross waste...but supposedly, methane is far more greenhouse gassy than the CO2 produced by burning.

Far as I know, farts produced by you eating the sausages you eat cooked on the NG stove are a greater threat to mankind than the raw NG used to cook them. But you already knew that.

3 posted on 04/21/2014 11:18:26 AM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (At no time was the Obama administration aware of what the Obama administration was doing)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

” - - - The Obama administration on Friday said it was giving eight federal agencies more time to weigh in on the Keystone XL pipeline, - - - “

The width of a typical, D-Handled, snow shovel is 14.5 inches in North Dakota or Montana, and 37 Centimeters in America’s 57 th State, Canada.

The actual width of the border between the 48 “lower 48” States and the 57 th State is estimated by “settled science” to be less than one millimeter, when measured from Canada, and “not even a smidgen” when lied about in Obamanation.

In the six years that have been required by the Nobel Prize winning “Lead from Behind” Obamanation Administration to make a decision on the one millimeter wide Red Line Border Violation, only eight Federal Bureaus have been amassed to solve how a 14.5 inch wide snow shovel might be best used to create the minimum environmental damage to a one millimeter wide Red Line on the frozen tundra that acts as an impenetrable inequality barrier between two very different ideologies.

On the Democrat Obama side of the ideological Red Line is a pledged oath by Obama to “Barry” the former USA by pledging to “Fundamentally transform the United States of America.”

On the other side of the ideological Red Line is everybody else.

Currently, Democrats and sympathetic doormat Republicans such as Boehner and McConnell have urged Obama to expand the number of Federal Bureaus from a measly 8 to a more equality-based 14.5.

In this way, there would be “shovel-width equality” to the transparently “shovel ready” XL Pipeline project by assigning equal numbers of Federal Bureaus for each inch of a D-Handled snow shovel width.

At last report, Obama and Boehner were meeting to work out a “Grand Bargain” that would NOT be voted on by “wacko bird” extremists from “the fool’s errand” persuasion wing of TEA Party in the US House of Representatives on how best to give all the other “bunch of “ Federal Bureaus a “fair shot” at becoming the one-half Federal Bureau of the US Supreme Court agreed upon mandated 14.5 Federal Bureaus.

Some Women’s groups have already voiced concern that the soon to be designated, one-half Federal Bureau will comprised of equal number of women and men.

Obviously, the gender-neutral will be required to temporarily declare a non-binding statement as to their temporary preference gender of male or female, so that the total number of employees in the half federal Bureau will be an even number.

Equal pay is not expected to be as issue, as all Federal employees are now paid equally, based on gender and not on:
* productivity,
* demonstrated skills or
* competence,
as was commonly done in the bad old days before the doormat Congressional Republican approved rise of Obamanation.

Other concerns voiced by the L.I.E., (Liberal Intelligentsia Elite), about equal distribution of:
* racial backgrounds,
* Gender-based wages from Taxpayer to Federal Permanent Welfare Entitlement Debt ratios,
* employee representation from all of the 57 States,
* and signed confidential pledges to AG Holder’s Department of Gestapo Justice
will be negotiated by Obama’s Labor Relations Board, as readily agreed to by Doormat Republican Boehner.

BTW, Obamanation Official Paid Liar, Jay Carney, is not expected to make any further announcements on the XL Pipeline while negotiations with Doormat Republican Speaker Boehner and President Valerie Jarrett are still ongoing.

Multiple questions from the White House Press Corps went unanswered by a smirking, arrogant Jay Carney, concerning the rumor that Obama is “forward planning” to Nationalize all US Oil and Gas Pipelines in order to use that new revenue to pay for his failed Obamacare Socialized Health Insurance Tax, commonly referred to as OSHIT.

4 posted on 04/21/2014 11:27:14 AM PDT by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

But flared natural gas is not releasing methane, it is releasing H20 and C02, the combustion products of methane.

Granted, that raw well gas contains more than methane, but flared is not the same as vented. This is talking about the flares.

5 posted on 04/21/2014 11:27:50 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

Our radical left and the wishy washy state functionaries have struck a blow that is likely to colapse our oil boom in th Baaken. These guys emulate John Boehner and use a dildo for a brain.

6 posted on 04/21/2014 11:33:31 AM PDT by Lion Den Dan
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To: Lion Den Dan

An 8% drop in production is hardly a collapse.

7 posted on 04/21/2014 11:41:47 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney
Sources of tropospheric methane fall into two categories (Figure 7). Anthropogenic sources constitute over 80% of the total methane production and include rice paddies, cattle enteric fermentation, gas drilling, coal mining, landfills and biomass burning. The natural sources of methane are wetlands, swamps, termites, lakes and oceans.

8 posted on 04/21/2014 11:43:04 AM PDT by McGruff (You believe what your government tells you. Don't you?)
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To: McGruff

Flaring does not release methane. Flaring burns the methane (and other hydrocarbons) releasing CO2 & H2O.

9 posted on 04/21/2014 11:45:01 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

“This is talking about the flares.”

Understood. I would suspect that flaring is much less pollutive than just letting the gas go = venting.

10 posted on 04/21/2014 11:55:42 AM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (At no time was the Obama administration aware of what the Obama administration was doing)
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To: thackney
An 8% drop in production is hardly a collapse. Democrats and Democrat wannabees lie like a rotten rug. This crap will really dent the Baaken.
11 posted on 04/21/2014 3:28:26 PM PDT by Lion Den Dan
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