Governor: North Dakota Aims To Nearly Double Pipeline Capacity
BISMARCK, North Dakota, June 24 (Reuters) - North Dakota's governor on Tuesday set a goal for the state's pipeline capacity to nearly double within two years, part of a plan to curb the wasteful flaring of natural gas in the bustling Bakken oil field.
While oil production has more than tripled in the past decade to 1 million barrels of oil equivalent (boed) per day, making North Dakota the fastest-growing economy in the United States, the pipeline network for transporting natural gas has lagged.
Aiming to change that, Governor Jack Dalrymple said the state aims to have capacity increase to 1.4 million boed by 2016, up from roughly 780,000 boed currently.
"We will reduce flaring," the governor told executives, regulators and investors at a pipeline summit he hosted in the state's capital. "It's just that simple."
Natural gas that is produced along with crude oil needs to be burned, or flared, if there is no pipeline to take it to market or a processing plant. Roughly 30 percent of the fuel was flared in April, the latest month for which statistics are available.
While down from an all-time high of 36 percent in September 2011, Dalrymple had hoped for a lower number.
The governor, known for working closely with energy companies on development, acknowledged that he cannot force Oneok, Enbridge, MDU Resources and other pipeline companies to expand their networks.
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