Controlling Oil Pollution | VideoJennifer Joas | 2/12/2013
Bakken operators deal with gas emissions all the time, when it comes to flaring natural gas, but what they weren`t prepared for was gases coming from the oil.
"It`s something I don`t think operators had seen anywhere else. So it was unique to the Bakken and once you capture that gas, and get the equipment in place, you can provide a value as well," said North Dakota Petroleum Council President Rob Ness.
The oil companies collaborated with the health department to develop new combustors to capture that excess gas. The new combustors come with a $70,000 price tag, but the state says it`s worth every penny.
"They`re much smaller qualities. But when you start getting the number of oil wells in the state like we`re getting, it`s still a concern to us. And so we believe they should be captured," said Health Department Air Quality Director Terry O`Clair.
Despite the extra emissions in the Bakken, the State Health Department says the air quality in western North Dakota is still meeting health standards.
"We`re still well within the standards that are set to protect health and welfare. So that`s good. But that doesn`t mean we should take that for granted. We need to keep our eye on it," O`Clair said.
Existing oil wells are already getting this new technology. And the health department will begin enforcement to make sure any new wells also capture the excess gas.
O`Clair says he expects this problem to arise in other parts of the country where shale drilling is taking place.