Bismarck, ND (KEYZ) North Dakota regulators relax some rules and offered incentives they hope will further limit natural gas that’s being burned off at well sites and wasted as a byproduct of crude production. Ron Ness President of the North Dakota Petroleum Council is pleased, saying the action better reflects the realities both the producers and the state have to deal with on the ground. “You still have those gas capture targets, they did not remove them,” says Ness. “But instead of punishing, this encourages the producers and mid-stream companies to keep investing. It gives them more options, so as a producer you’re not completely stuck waiting for a plant to be built,” he says.
Under the old rules, companies not meeting gas capture rates were penalized by production cuts, where as Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum council says the change allows them to continue to produce while working to expand their capture abilities.
“The ability to continue to produce the energy and to encourage the investment and not putting things on a ‘stand still’ until these plants get built, which because of workforce challenges and the pure time it takes to build these gas processing plants, to do it right,” says Ness.
The state Industrial Commission, a three-member panel led Gov. Doug Burgum, unanimously approved the changes that were submitted by an industry group.
The amended rules extend credits from three months to six months for companies that meet or exceed flaring goals. It also gives companies credit if the natural gas is used in the state to power equipment or facilities, and allows companies that are meeting targets to forgo a capturing plan with their drilling permits.
The environmental group, Dakota Resource Council argued in vain that current rules are insufficient and that the quarterly reporting requirement should stay in place.
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