Aug 22 -- Today Earthworks released a new report showing that eliminating natural gas waste in two shale plays would have the same effect as taking 1.5 million cars off the road. The report is accompanied by an interactive map developed by SkyTruth showing flaring activity in the U.S. and around the world based on nightly, infrared satellite data.
A recent state report showed that oil and natural gas producers in North Dakota were flaring (burning it at the wellhead) 29 percent of the approximately 31 billion cubic feet of natural gas produced in the state in August. That’s about nine billion cubic feet of natural gas that never made it into people’s homes to provide heat or into factories to produce goods. To put this figure in perspective, the nine billion cubic feet of natural gas flared in a single month (more than $30 million at August natural gas prices) is enough to supply residential customers in North Dakota for most of an entire year. The state’s residential customers used 9.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2012 according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Nor will private landowners collect royalties or the state collect production taxes on the flared gas. Nationally, only one percent of natural gas is flared.