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About 270 wells account for 60 percent of flaring

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 20, 2014 at 7:09 pm •  Published: May 20, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Just 274 wells accounted for around 60 percent of all flaring of natural gas in North Dakota in December, a researcher said Tuesday at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck.

Chad Wocken, senior research manager at the Energy and Environmental Research Center, a contract research firm housed at the University of North Dakota, discussed flaring and how to better utilize natural gas at the conference.

In March, the latest month for which figures are available, North Dakota's oil wells flared 33 percent of natural gas they produced. In December, North Dakota's flaring rate matched an all-time high at 36 percent.

Oil companies sometimes flare, or burn off, natural gas where it's found, rather than gathering it and processing it for the market. Nationwide, around 1 percent of natural gas is flared according to the U.S. Energy Department.

While there is no "silver bullet," Wocken said North Dakota's flaring rate could move into the single digits eventually, but it will require the development of pipeline and gas capturing infrastructure along with the implementation of gas capturing technologies at more remote sites.

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