Turning Waste into Profits
When companies drill for shale oil, they encounter large quantities of natural gas – but not enough to be commercially viable.
As a result, the gas ends up being flared, or burned – and the environment bears the burden.
In North Dakota, for instance, the night sky is lit up by flaring as companies look to discard the gas from the Bakken shale formation.
But as you’re about to find out, as these companies burn off this extra natural gas, they’re also throwing away massive profits. And one company in particular has the solution…
Backed into a Corner
North Dakota is now on the verge of enacting regulations that will force producers to cut flaring significantly in the coming years. Right now, more than 30% of the gas produced is flared. The state wants that number down to 5% to 10% in the next few years.
It’s not just North Dakota, either. When I met with the Energy Commissioner in Alaska earlier this year, he told me that dealing with the environmental consequences of natural gas flaring was a top priority.
That means companies need to figure out what to do with the gas. But coming up with an alternative isn’t easy.
The options are limited and expensive. Companies can store the gas and then transport it – or they can hook it up to a pipeline if there’s one close by.
However, both options are much more expensive than flaring.
There is another solution, however – one that could lead to a profit boost for shale companies… and investors.