Drilling companies have long struggled with the ability to adequately move their products from one location to another. However, the issue is not entirely theirs to own, as the transportation capabilities available to them have lagged behind natural gas production levels of recent years.
As a result, wells that produce a large amount of natural gas can only be effective up to a point because only a certain volume of the gas can be moved off-site. The remainder that cannot be stored must be burned off.
Though as Alex Mills, president of Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, noted in an article in RigZone, companies are losing millions of dollars because these resources aren't reaching markets.
"Flaring should be fully reduced at all costs, though the goal of reaching this position is still not in sight."
In some regions, a third of the natural gas produced was flared, according to Energy & Capital. As such, $100 million per month was lost in the U.S. in 2013 through the flaring process. Those footing the bill for these losses are drilling companies themselves. And as is the case with any business, the goal is to remain as profitable as possible, for which having to get rid of a portion of a company's product is never a proper business strategy. However, these are the conditions many gas companies face.
More efficient transportation
Though the methane released into the atmosphere is a real concern, studies conducted at several different drilling sites showed the gases were not at hazardous levels, according to RigZone. On the other hand, it is recognized that flaring should be fully reduced at all costs, though the goal of reaching this position is still not in sight.
The reason is that the most efficient manner of transporting resources is through pipelines, which are routinely held up in legal and regulatory battles. Plus, pipelines do not suffer from the same safety issues that other methods of transport do, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
Wells are not able to be turned off at the drop of a hat, either. Once gas begins flowing, there is a manual process that shuts off the well, but in the meantime, excess gas will still escape. This further underlines the demand for more pipelines capable of moving resources quickly and safely.
Solving the flaring dilemma could be a matter of a joint effort on behalf of the energy industry and state regulators.
FB Industries Inc. – The Unsurpassed Solution for Frac Sand Handling & Storage.