Note: The gas industry loves to cite concerns around flaring natural gas during oil production as an imperative to rapidly build new pipeline infrastructure, so the escaped gas (a ‘natural’ byproduct of oil production) can be captured and distributed, instead of burn at the drilling site.
However, this undermines the real solution (leaving fossil fuels in the ground), and fails to realize the ecological destruction caused by both oil and gas production and consumption. A small deviation from business-as-usual, i.e. capturing the gas in pipelines for distribution as opposed to flaring, only solves the economic ‘problem’ at hand. It fails to realize the simple fact that if the oil and gas were left in the ground, the health of surrounding communities and of the land would fare much better.
-The GJEP Team
By Lauren McCauley, July 29, 2013. Source: Common Dreams
Bright torches of natural gas are to become an ever-more common sight along the horizon of North Dakota as the environmentally devastating practice of flaring, or burning off natural gas as a byproduct of oil production, continues to skyrocket, according to a report released Monday by sustainability research group Ceres.
Analyzing oil and gas production data on the Bakken oil fields, researchers estimate that the volume of flared gas “more than doubled between May 2011 and May 2013,” and in 2012 alone, the greenhouse gases emitted from flared wells was equivalent to “adding nearly one million cars to the road.”
Further, as report authors Ryan Salmon and Andrew Logan note, because the flares only partially combust the natural gas, “a variety of other hazardous pollutants are generated by the process, including black carbon, another potent driver of climate change with adverse health effects.”