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.
Read the full news release at reuters.com