Reducing flaring in Fort Berthold

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Energy experts say gas flaring is a burning issue.

From an environmental standpoint, flaring is said to be bad for the environment. But from an economic standpoint, flaring is said to be a waste of a valuable resource.

North Dakota's oil and gas division requires wells to flare at 12 percent. The division hopes to lower that to 9 percent, especially in high oil production regions such as Fort Berthold.

The state's pipeline authority calls Fort Berthold the core of the Bakken.

The wells on the reservation have high rates of oil and natural gas production, so gas capture requirements are amplified in that high performance region.

To capture Fort Berthold's flaring more efficiently, Justin Kringstad with the Pipeline Authority says the reservation would have to get more pipeline in the ground and expand their pipeline network.

"Having interconnectivity between the pipeline networks so that as one area is more active for a period of time, those gas molecules can find a home at one of the processing plants in the region," said Kringstad.

Kingstad adds that this will benefit the market, generating more revenue.

"There are so many things that we can do with that gas other than light up the night and impact our environment, and then not get paid the royalties for resources that belong to us," said Mark Fox, Chairman of Three Affiliated Tribes.

Fox says the money that will be generated from that gas capture will bring more development and infrastructure to their reservation.

Kringstad expects gas production to continue to rise on Fort Berthold. He also says developing more pipeline is the first step to reducing flaring in the Bakken.