An oil industry task force representing hundreds of companies in North Dakota has pledged to capture as much as 90 percent of the natural gas being flared in the Bakken shale oilfield in six years, the New York Times reports.
The task force says the industry will gradually scale up the percentage of natural gas captured, from 70 percent now to 85 percent in two years and then 90 percent by the end of the decade.
However, this still means the Bakken shale oil field will produce more waste than almost all of the other oil major oil fields in the US, the New York Times says. A waste byproduct of the oil drilling, flared gas releases about 6 million tons of CO2 annually.
Expedited construction of gas-gathering lines connecting oil wells to processing plants will help the industry reach the targets, the task force says. It also calls for more stringent rules requiring producers to submit gas-capture plans before filing for a drilling permit and recommends the state offer tax credits, low-interest loans and other incentives to support the pipelines and other infrastructure.
About 40 percent more gas will be produced from the Bakken field by 2015, the New York Times says. North Dakota is the second biggest oil producing state after Texas.
President Barack Obama highlighted natural gas in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, pledging to “cut red tape” to help businesses build factories that use natural gas.
Businesses plan to invest about $100 billion in such factories, Obama said, adding that Congress can help by “putting people to work” building natural gas fueling stations, thus shifting vehicles away from foreign oil.