Official: ND flare emissions still acceptable

BISMARCK, N.D. — More than 30 percent of North Dakota’s natural gas production is being burned off because development of the pipelines and processing facilities needed to handle it has not kept pace with production.

Natural gas is a byproduct of oil production. Records show North Dakota oil drillers are deliberately torching and wasting 275 million cubic feet of natural gas each day. That’s enough to heat more than 1 million homes daily.

Terry O’Clair is the state Health Department’s air quality director. He says the flare emissions in the state’s oil patch continue to fall within acceptable air quality guidelines.

Records show flaring accounted about 5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in North Dakota last year, or about the same amount that 945,000 automobiles would emit.