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North Dakota Enforces Flaring Rules in Bakken Field

Four of six producers ordered by North Dakota regulators to reduce their production at certain wells as a penalty for burning off more natural gas than allowed have been taken off the cut-back list, a spokeswoman for the state's Oil and Gas Division tells NGI’s Shale Daily.

The state originally ordered five companies on April 1 to curb their production to 100 b/d at certain wells in the Bakken Field. Oil and Gas Division (O&G) spokeswoman Allison Ritter said this was the largest number of companies and wells the state has sanctioned since new flaring regulations took effect on Jan. 1.

O&G ordered production to be restricted at certain wells operated by Emerald Oil, Occidental Petroleum USA , QEP Resources, Abraxas Petroleum and Enerplus. A sixth company, Samson Resources, soon was added to the restriction list.

Ritter told Shale Daily that Oxy USA was removed from the restriction list April 6, with QEP, Enerplus and Samson removed two days later.

“The restrictions were lifted based on February data submitted to the Oil and Gas Division,” Ritter said. “Only Emerald Oil and Abraxas remain on the restricted list, and Abraxas may be removed based on data submitted concerning a force majeure request.”

The new North Dakota flaring rules require companies to capture at least 77% of natural gas produced during oil production. Under a policy adopted by the State Industrial Commission, the 100 Bbl restriction applies to companies that are not capturing at least 60% of the natural gas from the well.

Ritter said penalties would kick in only if the companies don't restrict wells as ordered.

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