North Dakota Industrial Commission approves revisions to gas capture policy
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

North Dakota's Industrial Commission on Tuesday approved a revised gas capture policy that aims to encourage investment in infrastructure but doesn't change the gas capture targets. 

Current gas capture policy requires companies to capture 88% of the Bakken natural gas they produce. The target increases to 91% on Nov. 1.

State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said the Oil and Gas Division has "relaxed the policy slightly in a few places and tightened it significantly in other places" after months of consultation with industry and environmental groups.

The changes approved unanimously Tuesday aim to ensure industry compliance with gas capture regulations amid future gas production growth.

"We believe that the revisions that we've made to the gas capture policy are the right step at the right time, but I do think every two or three years, we're going to have to look at this thing and modify it as time goes on," Helms told three-member, all-Republican panel chaired by Gov. Doug Burgum.

Helms said future gas capture requires "a monumental effort" and billions of dollars in infrastructure such as natural gas processing plants and pipelines amid projections that see North Dakota's gas production hitting 5.3 billion cubic feet a day 18 years from now.

North Dakota produced nearly 2.3 billion cubic feet per day in July, the most recent figure available. The state produced a record of more than 3.1 billion cubic feet per day in November 2019.

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