With gas production rising, Bakken flare task force reunites

By North American Shale magazine staff | April 10, 2018

Four years after creating a flaring task force designed to help producers, midstreams and mineral owners reduce the volume of associated gas produced during the shale oil retrieval process, more than 60 industry and state stakeholders are reconvening. With gas and NGL prices now profitable for Bakken producers and areas of the state falling short of capture goals, members of the task force believe now is the time to discuss the future needs, challenges and opportunities for the gas resource.

Through the initial efforts of the task force, industry and state leaders agreed to follow a flare-capture goal that would slowly increase the amount of gas captured year over year before reaching a 90 percent capture goal in 2020. Failure by operators to meet the goal for their assets would result in potential production curtailments. Low oil and gas prices in 2016 and 2017 made gas in the Bakken less attractive for major infrastructure project investments from producers and midstreams. But, times have changed and the future of the Bakken’s gas production potential will only grow, state leaders believe.

The North Dakota Petroleum Council task force has already held meetings through six subcommittees created to examine challenges, including: additional infrastructure buildout, right-of-way and tribal regulatory challenges, H2S contamination, remote capture technologies, new operator engagement and reworking of the gas capture plan requirements to better reflect a changing oilfield. By mid-May, the group intends to have a new plan on gas capture for the Bakken.