North Dakota approves flare reduction recommendations

The North Dakota Industrial Commission adopted several recommendations from the Department of Mineral Resources to reduce the amount of flaring in the state. These recommendations were based on work of the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) Flaring Task Force that was formed to study ways to increase the capture of flared gas. In December 2013, North Dakota flared 36% of its produced natural gas. The NDPC estimates that, by adopting these recommendations, North Dakota could increase natural gas capture to 85% within two years, 90% within six years, and up to 95% thereafter.

The recommendations include:
  • After June 1, 2014, before filing an application for a drilling permit, upstream (producers) and midstream companies (natural gas processors and gatherers) would be required to create a Gas Capture Plan (GCP). Each GCP would include a location of the well and closest pipeline and processing plant; the system capacity of gathering and transport gas lines; the volume of gas flowing from multi-well pads; and a time period for connection. The companies must attach an affidavit that the GCP was provided to gathering companies in the area.
  • A GCP is required for all future increased density, temporary spacing and proper spacing cases.
  • A failure to submit a GCP may result in a denial or suspension of new drilling permits, while existing wells may be required to restrict production pending compliance.
  • A web-based pipeline incident report form should be developed to provide landowners with an easy notification system for problems and concerns.
  • There should be semi-annual meetings with gathering companies to determine the effect of the GCPs, production curtailments, contracts, and service interruptions.
  • There should be a docket for hearing a motion to review and revise all Bakken and Three Forks field rules governing production curtailment.
For a presentation made by the North Dakota Industrial Commission concerning these recommendations, click here.

This post was written by Barclay Nicholson ( or 713.651.3662) from Norton Rose Fulbright's Energy Practice Group.