North Dakota Takes Important Step to Reduce Flaring

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EDF Applauds NDIC for initial efforts, cautions that further steps may be needed

Dan Grossman, 303-887-8206, dgrossman@edf.org

(BISMARCK, North Dakota—July 1, 2014) The North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) took another critical step today toward curbing the wasteful practice of flaring natural gas. The NDIC, a group that includes North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, gave the NDIC Oil and Gas Division authority to limit oil production for operators that fail to meet flaring reduction goals set by the Commission, signaling that the status quo practice of wasting nearly one-third of the gas produced in the state is unacceptable.

The Commission reaffirmed the following flaring reduction goals today:

  • ·         26% by Q4 2014

  • ·         23% by Q1 2015

  • ·         15% by Q1 2016

  • ·         5-10% by 2020

Operators that fail to reduce flaring in accordance with these goals may see their production curtailed to 200 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) or even to 100 BOPD if they are flaring more than 40% of their gas. 

“We are pleased that the Commission has opted to tie production limits directly to the flaring reduction goals,” said Dan Grossman, EDF Rocky Mountain Regional Director. “This is the type of performance standard that EDF advocated for in our comments to the Oil and Gas Division in April. We look forward to carefully reviewing the Commission’s order to better understand its implications – particularly with regard to the exemptions provided for some wells.

“North Dakota has taken some important steps to reduce wasteful flaring. But today’s action is the starting line, not the finish line,” added Grossman. “We look forward to continuing to work with the NDIC, the Oil and Gas Division and the state legislature to implement policies that will put more of the state’s gas to work rather than letting it go up in smoke.” 

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