BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Natural gas is being burned off and wasted at record levels in North Dakota because development of the pipelines and processing facilities needed to handle it has not kept pace.
Natural gas production hit a record in March. But about 20 percent of it went up in flames through “flaring,” the process of burning off the gas when it can’t be captured.
Critics say the state has not done enough to hold the energy industry’s feet to the fire. North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness says the industry is working to curb flaring and has invested more than $18 billion in recent years.
About $4 billion in infrastructure is expected to come on line in the next two years, but regulators project that growing production will still lead to too much flaring.