North Dakota delays higher gas capture target

Published 11-20-2018

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota regulators are backing away from targets for capturing the natural gas produced from oil drilling.

The goal was supposed to increase in November from 85 percent to 88 percent. But the Industrial Commission on Tuesday delayed that by two years.

Natural gas not captured at oil wells is burned off, a practice known as flaring that can degrade air quality. North Dakota has struggled to build enough infrastructure to capture the gas.

The problem is worse when production speeds up. Record production in September led to just 83 percent of gas being captured - the fifth straight month the 85 percent target was missed.

The commission said the gas capture policy must "be balanced with what infrastructure is in place and how the industry is evolving."

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