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Helms believes flaring goals will be met; changes may be coming

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

North Dakota Mineral Resource director Lynn Helms believes the state will soon meet the Industrial Commission’s goals for natural gas capture.

The goal was to capture 88 percent of the gas, starting last November. But as of December, the rate was only 84 percent.

In his recent "Director's Cut" briefing, which covered December production, Helms said he is optimistic that the 88 percent capture goal will be met – and it’s possible that may have happened in January.

"That's the heart of winter, so maybe not," Helms said. "But we're very optimistic that we'll get there in the first quarter of this year, maybe by the end of March."

Helms said he’s been talking with the “midstream” companies – those who gather and process the gas.

"They're optimistic they have built the right infrastructure to get us there," Helms said. "They have not only built the processing infrastructure, but they've built the compression and gather infrastructure to get us there."

But Helms said there are some areas in the Bakken where there have been delays in rolling out that infrastructure.

"For example, north of the Missouri River, everything is waiting on the WBI expansion to take place," Helms said. "That doesn't happen until the fourth quarter of '21."

Helms also said the state Industrial Commission will also be taking another look at its gas capture goals, with an eye toward a new policy.  The current goal is 91 percent capture, taking effect in November of this year.

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