The burning of natural gas in the nation’s oil fields has been an ongoing source of strife between drillers and the Obama administration, which worries not only about the increased methane emissions but a wasting of the country’s energy supplies.
A new report Monday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds that in North Dakota – where the practice is most common – only 10 percent of the gas coming out of the ground is being flared. In January 2014, the flaring rate was 36 percent.
The administration is rolling out tougher federal rules to limit flaring on federal and tribal lands. But in North Dakota’s Bakken field at least, some of the problem is already abating.
“As new infrastructure has been built, more of the Bakken region’s natural gas production has been brought to market, reducing the volume of flared natural gas despite much higher production,” the report reads.