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Oil companies say they're stepping up efforts to capture more natural gas from wells

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Oil companies are getting more serious about reducing or eliminating natural gas flaring.

North Dakota mineral resources director Lynn Helms recently traveled to Houston, to talk with companies that are big in the Bakken.

"Four years ago, everyone was pounding the table, wanting flaring variances, so they could grow production," Helms said. "That has made a complete 180."

Helms said companies told him they have made a commitment to eliminate routine flaring by 2030, and to eliminate non-routine flaring as soon as possible.

Right now, North Dakota requires 91 percent gas capture.

North Dakota Pipeline Authority director Justin Kringstad said to get to those industry-set capture goals will take more infrastructure – in in terms of gas gathering pipelines and gas processing plants.

"As we look at some areas of the state, like Divide County and Williams County — places that have at least some footprint of gas capture systems in, there are real questions of whether they will be adequately sized for the targets that companies have," Kringstad said.

Kringstad said it's going to mean new infrastructure — gathering pipelines and gas processing plants.

"It's one thing to build it for 91 percent capture," Kringstad said. "It's another to build a system for 97 percent capture, or 99 percent capture."

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