NEW YORK, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The expansion of a project in the Bakken reserve area of North Dakota will cut down on costs in part due to the use of flared natural gas, project leaders said.
The U.S. subsidiary of Norwegian energy company Statoil, along with a joint venture between General Electric and Ferus Natural Gas Fuels, announced plans to expand the so-called Last Mile project in order to capture flared natural gas and use it to power Statoil's drilling operations in North Dakota.
"By using this captured natural gas in place of diesel in our drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations, we are further reducing emissions and costs," Lance Langford, Statoil's vice president for Bakken development and production, said in a statement Wednesday.
Natural gas associated with the vast shale oil deposits in the states is burned off, or flared, because of a lack of processing capabilities. North Dakota lags behind other oil-producing states in gas utilization, but set a goal of capturing 90 percent of associated gas within six years.
The companies involved in the Last Mile project estimate they'll be able to capture as much as 5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from operations in the Bakken oil field by the end of the year.
This, in turn, could translate to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of as much as 200,000 tons per year.