Eagle Ford Task Force Turns to Natural Gas Flaring

Flaring is common when infrastructure isn't adequate
Natural Gas Flare

Gas Flare | Click to Enlarge

The Eagle Ford Task Force is turning its attention to natural gas flaring. Texas set a record for flaring permits earlier in the year and the trend will continue until pipelines and gathering systems catch up with drilling.

In oil producing areas like the Eagle Ford, drilling and first production is reached weeks and sometimes months before pipeline companies get natural gas infrastructure to the area. Oil can be moved with a truck, but natural gas needs pipelines.

Flaring is commonplace in oil producing areas and is very rarely abused. More often than not, flaring lasts only a few days or weeks. It is in the operators best interest to get paid for natural gas they’re producing.

The task force plans to work with companies to increase the use of natural gas generators on location. On-site generators can power electric machinery and will help limit the amount of flaring.

A main concern for the region is whether or not the Eagle Ford will push the San Antonio Metro Area over the federal limits for ozone standards. The ozone issue alone will have politicians anxious.

Comments from David Porter indicate the TX RRC is going to review its rules to make sure they are relevant in the modern shale era. I suspect there won’t be major changes. Even if big changes come, infrastructure in the Eagle Ford will be catching up and flaring won’t be near as prevalent by the time any legislation is enacted.

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R.T. Dukes

R.T. Dukes

Managing Editor at EagleFordShale.com
R.T. is the managing editor of EagleFordShale.com. In prior roles, he advised major oil companies on strategy, the macro business environment, and opportunity screening. 2503 Robinhood, Houston, TX, 77005, U.S.A. | Telephone: 832.429.4790

Comments

  1. Jim Shipstead says:

    Do we have an estimate of how much gas is being flared on a daily basis in EagleFord play.
    And, do we have an idea of concentration of heavies vs. methane?

  2. john palmer says:

    I agree… we provide nat gas generators/mobile ngl units./nat gas compression.

  3. Henry Heck says:

    Electric power is required to run the hydraulic fracturing pumps and it not always immediately at hand in remote locations. One approach would be diesel generators. A preferred option is small scale gas turbine run off well head gas. A common unit being tried successfully generates 65 killiWatts. When the collection lines are completed, the operator needs to make a decision. Can they make more money selling electricity than they can selling the well head gas. They might actually move the 65 kiliWatt unit and increase production with a MegaWatt unit. Natural gas burns with virtually no SO2 or NOx. This could be a big win that eliminates EPA’s last chance to interfere and make more money for the producers.

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