Future of Natural Gas in ND | VideoJennifer Joas | 7/18/2012
What is now lighting up our skies is a growing resource for the state of North Dakota. Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling haven`t just helped our crude oil exploration, but they`ve taken what was once a 10-year supply of natural gas and turned it into a 100-year supply.
"I`m very excited for our natural gas potential here in North Dakota. I think we are currently in that export of natural gas, but there are significant opportunities now for value-added opportunities," said Justin Kringstad with the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.
The North Dakota Pipeline Authority commissioned Bentek Energy to study the future of natural gas in the state. With standard oil wells, the gas declines along with the oil. But this group is predicting that Bakken wells will do the opposite. The natural gas production will grow.
"Even as we see our oil wells decline, natural gas will decline but not as quickly. So when you compound the number of wells we`re expecting, natural gas production hits some very high volumes," Kringstad said.
This means North Dakota`s future is even brighter when it comes to leading the energy sector.
"All these wells will be producing almost original volumes of natural gas and so it will become more important than the oil production a few decades from now in North Dakota," said Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms.
But for this growth to happen, western North Dakota needs to see more investment in gas gathering systems, gas processing and gas transportation.
We`ve already seen three billion dollars invested in these systems, but Kringstad predicts we will need five, ten, even 15 billion dollars of investment in the future to export all the natural gas North Dakota can provide.
Helms says North Dakota`s natural gas liquids are richer than other gas produced from the Marcellus shale out east because it contains more chemicals which are valuable for the petrochemical industry.