Nat Gas News
U.S. oil fields flared and vented more natural gas again in 2019: data
Reuters reports: The U.S. drilling industry flared or vented more natural gas in 2019 for the third year in a row, as soaring production in Texas, New Mexico, and North Dakota overwhelmed regulatory efforts to curb the practice, according to state data and independent research estimates. Flaring, or deliberately burning gas produced as a byproduct to oil, can worsen climate change by releasing carbon dioxide. Venting releases unburned methane, which is many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Oil drillers tend to flare or vent gas when they lack pipelines to move it to market, or prices are too low to make transporting it worthwhile. “You’ve got a real waste issue,” said Colin Leyden, a policy advocate for the Environmental Defense Fund, which tracks flaring. “And everyone should be concerned about that.”
U.S. crude oil and natural gas production increased in 2018, with 10% fewer wells
World Oil reports: In 2018, while production was increasing, the total number of wells producing crude oil and natural gas in the United States fell to 982,000, down from a peak of 1,035,000 wells in 2014. This increase in production, despite the decline in the number of wells, reflects advances in technology and drilling techniques. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s updated U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Wells by Production Rate report shows how daily production rates of individual wells by
state contributed to an increase in total crude oil and natural gas production in 2018. Wells classified as non-horizontal in the report—most of which are vertical wells—have decreased 10% from 935,000 in 2014 to 842,000 in 2018. Horizontal wells are relatively less common, but they are growing as a share of the total; the 99,000 horizontal wells drilled in 2014 accounted for 10% of the total. In 2018, 140,000 horizontal wells accounted for 14% of total wells drilled.