The state missed its gas-collection targets for the third month in a row, even when the oil and gas production of the state reached a new record.
In the meantime, a progress report for the Little Missouri 4 Gas Plant indicates that the project, which had to deliver 200 million cubic feet per day in respiration space in November, will not be released until next year after the online survey. of the labor crisis of the Bakken.
The situation has prompted the state to look for an alternative approach to its flaring problems, according to reports that appeared during the production report of the oil and gas division in September.
Lynn Helms, Director of North Dakota, Department of Mineral Resources, reported that oil production hit 1,269 million barrels per production day and that gas production reached 2.4 million MCF per day. Both are new records.
But, along with those reports, the continuous flaring over state targets. Across the board, flaring increased to 18.2 percent, and for the Baking, flaring rose 16 percent – 1 percent shy of the goal of the state's target by 15 percent, according to the September report.
The daily gas volume from June to July increased by 45.5 million to 436 million cubic feet per day. The historical level was 36 percent in September 2011.
That is the third month in a row that targets were missed, which, said Helms said last month, is likely to cause regulatory action, including potential production restrictions and required gas capture plans.
But the state can have a solution to help the industry bridge the gap between its production capacity and its current gas processing infrastructure, while waiting for the construction of six new plants that will add a total of 965 million cubic feet per day.
Helms said the North Dakota Industrial Commission had approved $ 144,000 for the Energy and Environmental Research Center to investigate the feasibility of storing unprocessed gas underground during its meeting earlier in the day on Friday.
"Here we have done a relatively simple modeling of that concept at the oil and gas division," Helms said. "It looks like it is geologically possible, so they are going to look at the technology and which formations are most suitable."
The EERC will also examine which types of regulatory or legal issues need to draw the attention of the legislator. Their report must appear in December.
Helms said that if the process succeeds, North Dakota is the first state in the nation to absorb gas and store it underground geologically.
The gas would be stored from two to five years, Helms added. In the worst case, without optimization efforts, the gas would later be 70% recoverable, and gas processing capacity is available again.
"(That would help) to bridge this separation between production and infrastructure", says Helms. "We do not want to discourage infrastructure, but we need some sort of innovative solution to fill the gap."
Underground storage would be a better solution than flaring, he added. Flaring destroys a product that is relatively expensive to obtain, and means that mineral owners do not get the full value of their royalties.
The Hess-Targa plant was one of the two gas plants that came online this fall to help ease the short-term gas crisis. It would process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. The other is Oasis Petroleum's Wild Basin factory, which is currently planning an open house for October.
The Hess-Targa joint venture could only hire half of the manufacturers he needed, Helms said.
"They hoped to start in November and be at full capacity in January", says Helms. "Now they are focused on start-up in next year's April."
Fabricators are one of the two areas that require additional skilled labor, according to Helms. The other sector, often called, is hydraulic break.
The industry as a whole had 70 drilling rigs in the bins at the end of the year, Helms said, but this would require more personnel for hydraulic breakers. So it is stuck at 65 harness crews.
Helms said he believed it was a strong possibility that flaring restrictions, or at least gas recovery plans could play a role for some companies.
"We had a decent downtime at the Robinson Lake Gas Plant," he added. "That's a big incentive, so that can lead to a lot of them to force majeure, so they may not have any production restrictions."
Yet he added later, with the kind of volumes being blown out, he would be "surprised" if there were no restrictions for one of the companies.
Individual companies are still being processed, Helms added.
"We have an important employee on maternity leave," he added. "So we are a little slow to process that information and to take it to you, but we'll get rid of it as soon as possible, about production restrictions, gas replacement improvement plans and so on."