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North Dakota Bakken Flaring Nearly 20% Of Its Natural Gas Production

Bakken Natural Gas Production Sold vs Flared OCT 19

The insanity continues in the North Dakota Bakken, as the shale industry is flaring nearly 20% of its natural gas production.  That is one hell of a lot of natural gas production that is simply being burned away.  So, how much natural gas is being flared?  Quite a bit when we compare it to the consumption of a typical household.

First, let’s look at the amount of natural gas production that is sold versus what is being flared in the Bakken.  According to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, the Bakken sold 73.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas in October while it flared 15.7 Bcf.

Thus, 18% of total natural gas production from the Bakken was flared into thin air. Furthermore, the amount of natural gas flaring in the Bakken has increased 241% over the past four years.  In October 2015, the North Dakota Bakken flared 6.5 Bcf that month versus 15.7 Bcf in October 2019.

Now, get this… even though the Bakken’s natural gas production has increased by approximately 80% since October 2015, the amount of flaring has jumped by 241%:

(chart from Shaleprofile.com)

Second, if we take a look at the chart above, from Shaleprofile.com, we can see the reason why companies in the Bakken are flaring a lot more natural gas. Since October 2015, while the Bakken’s oil production increased 26%, the natural gas has jumped by 80% in the same period.  The Bakken is producing a lot more natural gas compared to oil than it was just four years ago.  This has several negative consequences, which all point to very bad news for the Bakken over the next few years.

So, how much is 15.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas that was flared into the North Dakota sky in October this year??  According to the folks at PeoplesGas.com, each household uses 168 cubic feet of natural gas per day.  By multiplying this figure by 30 days, it equals a bit more than 5,000 cubic feet of natural gas per month, per household.

(Info from PeoplesGas.com)

And, if we divide the 15.7 billion cubic feet by the 5,040 cubic feet per household, it equals a stunning 3,115,000 homes. That’s correct, the North Dakota Bakken flared enough natural gas in October to supply 3.1 million homes.  But, this is only part of the story.  There’s a larger shale region in the United States that flares even more natural gas than the Bakken.

The data put out by Rystad Energy, reported in the article, Burn, Pay, Or Shut It Down: Three Evils For Permian Drillers, stated that the Permian is now flaring 750 million cubic feet of natural gas per day:

I took this information and calculated how much natural gas was flared in the Permian during September.  Multiplying 750 million cubic feet by 30 days, it equals 22.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf).  I also used the data from Shaleprofile to get the Permian’s monthly shale gas production.  In September, the Permian produced a total of 392.5 Bcf of natural gas.  Thus, 370 Bcf was sold, and 22.5 Bcf was flared:

While the Permian is only flaring 6% of its total natural gas compared to 18% for the Bakken, it is still a great deal of natural gas burned into the atmosphere.

If we add the 15.7 Bcf of flared natural gas from the Bakken and 22.5 Bcf from the Permian, that is a monthly total of 38.2 Bcf. Which means, the Bakken and Permian are flaring the amount of natural gas that would supply 7.6 million American homes of their usage.  Simply incredible.

The U.S. Shale Industry is in deep trouble.  The flaring of nearly 40 billion cubic feet of natural gas per month from the two largest shale fields in the United States is a warning sign that ALL IS NOT WELL.  Watch for fireworks in the U.S. Shale Industry to start this year as billions in debt comes due while investors no longer care to throw bad money after good to fund the FRACKING BLACK HOLE.

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