Industrial Commission okays changes to gas-capture rules

Apr 18, 2018

Industrial Commission meets to discuss tweaks to gas capture rules (4/17/18).
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved some tweaks to the Commission’s natural gas flaring rules.

"We think that refocusing our efforts on stranded gas, and on people who are not meeting gas capture goals, while keeping the goals in place and keeping their feet to the fire, is the right way to go," said state Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms.

Helms said the gas capture goal – which goes up to 88 percent in November, meaning only 12 percent of gas can be flared – will stay in place. He said there will be some leeway for so-called “stranded gas” – normally, from wells outside of the Bakken’ s “sweet spot,” where there are fewer wells and companies can’t afford gas gathering lines.

Helms said it puts more focus on those companies in the Bakken that miss the targets.

"Those who are making the targets and meeting gas capture goals will be relieved of some of their administrative burden," Helms said. "Those who are not meeting the targets, we're going to ramp it up."

The companies that do not meet the targets will have to submit “gas capture improvement plans” – and will have to meet with the Department of Natural Resources semi-annually. The Industrial Commission can ratchet-back oil production, if companies still aren't meeting the gas capture goals.