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Flaring Cutbacks Coming For Operators on Fort Berthold Lands in North Dakota

A Massachusetts company with natural gas capture and flare recovery services has inked a deal with the three affiliated Native American tribes on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. The agreement is expected to help bring operators on the reservation in line with the state's increasingly successful efforts to curb flaring.

The MHA (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara) Nation, or three affiliated Fort Berthold tribes, has granted a business license to Lynnfield, MA-based American Power Group Corp. (APG) for the gas capture/flaring reduction work on the reservation, which has lagged the rest of the state. Most recently, non-reservation operators had a 92% gas-capture rate, while the Fort Berthold operators achieved an 87% level of capture.

More than 15% of the state's production this year has come from Fort Berthold operators with the most recent (June) statistics showing production at 166,432 b/d: 98,785 b/d from trust land and 66,647 b/d from fee lands. There are now 1,474 active wells on the reservation, a little more than 1,000 on trust lands.

Currently there are six rigs working on Fort Berthold, none on fee lands; 168 wells in June were awaiting completion.

American Power is offering its Trident NGL process technology, which operators such as Sakakawea Energy Co. are counting on to begin fulfilling needs to cut flared gas volumes. "We have been looking for a technology that can meet our current and future flare capture objectives, in addition to providing an opportunity to use portions of the flared gas as a future lower-cost fuel for our tribal members," said Bernie Fox, Sakakawea CEO.

With the permit from the MHA Nation's Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO), APG has the priority access for working closely with Fox's operation and various MHA Nation environmental and economic development committees, said Lyle Jensen, APG CEO.

"We are very familiar with many of the oil/gas companies operating well sites on the Fort Berthold Reservation after successfully converting many of their drill rigs to dual fuel in other shale regions of North America," Jensen said.

APG offers a patented "turbocharged natural gas dual fuel conversion technology" that its officials describe as a "unique noninvasive software-driven solution" that converts conventional diesel-fueled engines to run concurrently on diesel and various forms of natural gas, including compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, conditioned wellhead gas, biomethane, etc.

The company's technology is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. "With our proprietary 'Fueled by Flare'(tm) process technology, we can convert these captured gases into natural gas liquids that can be sold as heating fluids, emulsifiers, or further processed by refiners," APG said.

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