Gas production accelerating in the Bakken

EIA finds crude oil holds the clear lead in terms of volume, but natural gas takes it when it comes to pace.

By Daniel J. Graeber

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Even though more crude oil than gas comes out of the Bakken shale in North Dakota, the pace of growth for gas is far greater, a federal report found.

North Dakota crude oil production stands at around 1.07 million barrels per day, putting it in the No. 2 spot nationally behind Texas. Nearly all of the state oil production comes from the Bakken and Three Forks shale formation and North Dakota now accounts for about 11 percent of total U.S. crude oil production.


A profile from the federal Energy Information Administration, however, said oil production is off its peak of 1.2 million barrels per day three years ago and the ratio of gas production to oil finds natural gas output is accelerating.

"While oil production has slowed in North Dakota, natural gas production has continued to grow, reaching a record high of 1.94 billion cubic feet per day in August 2017," the agency's profile read.

North Dakota state leaders were among the first to advocate for a reduction in natural gas flaring. Much of the natural gas associated with shale oil deposits is burned off, or flared, because of a lack of infrastructure needed to utilize the resource.


More than two years ago, startup company North Dakota LNG announced plans to build a gas processing plant in Tioga to reduce flaring, the first of its kind for the state. The U.S. Interior Department at the time suggested flaring could both stave off emissions and reduce the amount of gas wasted by burning it off.

The state in 2014 set a goal of capturing 90 percent of associated gas within six years. State data show the volume of flared gas dropped by about 40 percent since those goals were established.

"Despite the increasing gas-oil ratio, North Dakota still produces more than three times as much energy from crude oil as from natural gas," the EIA stated.

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