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Anadarko, Samson Slapped for Flaring Violations in Wyoming

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (OGCC) has assessed $1,000 fines against two producers, units of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Samson Resources Co., for flaring prohibited amounts of associated natural gas at the wellhead beyond an agreed-to deadline.

Under Wyoming rules, the OGCC monitors operators that are allowed to flare gas volumes for more than 60 MMcf/d for an agreed length of time. In this case the operators both exceeded their deadlines. Amounts under 60 MMcf/d may be flared indefinitely in Wyoming.

The Woodlands, TX-based Anadarko unit, Anadarko E&P Onshore LLC, and Samson, flared past their agreed-to deadlines. For Anadarko, the violation was at a well in Johnson County; for Samson, the violations occurred at wells in both Johnson and Campbell counties.

"We don't have many of these cases of violations; we have only had a few others so far this year," an OGCC official told NGI's Shale Daily on Wednesday, who noted that Wyoming's flaring issue is much less than the 30% reported in North Dakota.

A Wyoming state legislative committee is considering a bill that would impose a severance tax on flared gas. Besides environmental concerns, advocates for the legislation cite concerns about the amount of money lost to flaring.

Earlier this year, a spokesman for Gov. Matt Mead told NGI's Shale Daily that the governor's recently announced Wyoming energy strategy will address concerns about flaring and environmental rules as they impact exploration and production operations (see Shale DailyMay 24).

In Wyoming, operators have 15 days to complete a new well, during which they can flare gas. For volumes of 60 MMcf/d, an agreement must be reached with the OGCC to continue flaring for a defined length of time after well completion.

Samson completed a Johnson County well Feb. 22 and one in Campbell County on April 26, but in both cases kept flaring after those times. Samson officials have indicated that the company has a new notification system on each well so that operators would know about deadlines before they occur. Anadarko also has installed a new monitoring system to alert operators ahead of deadlines occurring.

 Casper, WY-based Moser Energy Systems is developing uses for the flared gas to provide wellsite electric power and fuel for drilling operations (see Shale DailyJune 12).

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