Part I: on Obama approval of cross-border fracked gas pipeline used to dilute tar sands
Gas flaring is apparently a thing. It is a way to deal with the natural gas that is released as a byproduct of fracking for crude oil. Normally we hear about hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) of shale in North America as a way to extract shale gas. That gas is usually piped and shipped to be combusted as energy. But the gas that is released while extracting crude oil from shale rock is considered a waste byproduct – unusuable and nonmarketable… for want of pipelines.
So what to do with this waste? Burn – or flare – the gas. This is happening all around the world, from Azerbaijan to Mexico.
And, of course, the US: In North Dakota, amount of wasted burned/flared gas has doubled since 2011.
All the flared natural gas in North Dakota was responsible for 4.5 million metric tons of CO2 — greenhouse gases roughly the equivalent of adding 1 million cars to U.S. highways in 2012
That is bad freakin news for climate change. They’re burning so much waste gas that it can be seen from space!
Bakken oil companies flared about $3.6 million worth of natural gas per day in May 2013, or 5 percent of the value of the oil produced in North Dakota each day that month
That is bad freakin news for the economy.
Gas flaring is blatant, bald-faced disregard for our planet and an outrageous waste and inefficiency. Fracking itself is already a highly contaminating and energy- and water-intensive process. Burning the ‘waste’ gas emits millions of tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. And worst of all, no one is benefiting. None of this fossil fuel combustion is heating homes or generating electricity or powering vehicles.
It burns for no one.