Friday, January 20, 2012

In North Dakota, Flames of Wasted Natural Gas Light the Prairie

"Thirty percent of the natural gas extracted in North Dakota is flared off, like this gas near Ray.

“I’ll tell you why people flare: It’s cheap,” said Troy Anderson, lead operator of a North Dakota gas-processing plant owned by Whiting Petroleum. “Pipelines are expensive: You have to maintain them. You need permits to build them. They are a pain.”

Ridding of these chemicals by burning them off into our atmosphere is one way to hasten global warming....with the oil and gas industry vying for the #1 or 2 position for the largest contributor to global warming in the world! And in the meantime, it is chocking the breath for millions.

Jim Wilson--The New York Times
September 26, 2011

NEW TOWN, N.D. — Across western North Dakota, hundreds of fires rise above fields of wheat and sunflowers and bales of hay. At night, they illuminate the prairie skies like giant fireflies.

They are not wildfires caused by lightning strikes or other acts of nature, but the deliberate burning of natural gas by oil companies rushing to extract oil from the Bakken shale field and take advantage of the high price of crude. The gas bubbles up alongside the far more valuable oil, and with less economic incentive to capture it, the drillers treat the gas as waste and simply burn it....continued....