From the article:
Every day, more than 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is flared this way — enough energy to heat half a million homes for a day.Economics is cited as the reason for the wasteful practice. After all, the oil is the prize here, not the natural gas, not with prices for it pushed low due to an abundunt supply. Pipelines and collection equipment cost money and quite frankly it is cheaper to burn off the gas than invest in the infrastructure necessary to get it to market.
However, it is stunning to see the commodity that is so highly prized here in our area wastefully burned off into the sky over North Dakota. After all, V & M and other pipe producers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars gearing up for the fracking boom that is getting under way. Wasn't it just a few years ago that natural gas prices were three times what they are now due to supply shortages? I remember people in the late 2000's calling Ron Verb's radio show and complaining incessantly about the cost of heating their homes.
Hopefully some enterprising company can see an opportunity for this fuel rather than letting it heat the sky.