Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Applying Creativity to a Byproduct of Oil Drilling

Workers installing a device to capture natural gas at an oil well in McKenzie County, N.D. The gas would otherwise simply be flared, or burned off. (Credit: Jim Wilson/The New York Times) Click to enlarge.
Oil companies and other industries are intensifying their efforts to stem the flaring, like building more pipelines and gas processing plants, planning new fertilizer factories that use natural gas as a feedstock and converting rigs and other equipment to use natural gas as a fuel.

But so far, the companies have been losing ground, and will probably not reduce the amount of flaring to the level of other oil-producing states for at least another five years.

Statoil, the Norwegian oil giant, is teaming up with General Electric here in the wheat fields of McKenzie County, the heart of the Bakken field, on a low-cost prototype it hopes will be used as far away as Africa and Asia, where gas now flared could be gathered for cooking and other uses.

Applying Creativity to a Byproduct of Oil Drilling

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