Natural Gas Flaring in the Bakken Shale and Eagle Ford Shale

Natural gas flaring is on the rise as oil drilling expands in areas of the Eagle Ford Shale and Bakken Shale. Operators often test wells before pipelines are built, which means there is no where for the gas to go. It gets flared until a pipeline is connected to the well site. Operators can also get permits to flare gas for extended periods of time if there is no gas infrastructure in the area.

The natural gas is essentially viewed as a by product that doesn’t add much value to an oil well. In theory, it sounds okay, but you end up with more natural gas being flared than consumed in places like North Dakota.

Flaring of natural gas from wells is on the upswing in Texas and North Dakota as oil and gas producers rush to develop new shale plays, and critics are not happy about it.

Flaring, once a common practice, involves burning off natural gas that cannot be captured and sold in order to produce more valuable oil. It is frowned upon because it causes air pollution, boosts global warming and wastes natural resources.

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Kenneth E. DuBose

Kenneth E. DuBose

Kenneth DuBose is the past President of Cheyenne Minerals Inc., an independent oil and gas operator. He began his energy industry career with ARCO Oil & Gas. Mr. DuBose then directed development of natural gas storage projects with Tejas Power Corp. He was a founding member of U.S. Minerals, (acquired by Torch Energy in 1999) a provider of internet based education for America’s mineral owners. Mr. DuBose holds a BS in Petroleum Engineering from Mississippi State University. He has served on various industry steering committees, non-profit boards, and is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the National Association of Royalty Owners, the American Association of Professional Landmen, as well as being a Registered Investment Advisor. He writes on topics of oil and gas investing, wealth management and personal finance, having appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Houston Business Journal, Financial Advisor and various radio and TV outlets.