North Dakota oil and gas regulators ordered five companies to reduce their April oil production to 100 b/d on certain wells or face potential daily penalties for violating the North Dakota Industrial Commission enforcement policy on gas flaring.
NDIC's 100-b/d restriction applies to companies not capturing at least 77% of associated gas from an oil well. The restriction was imposed for 1 month pending a review of monthly production reports from the companies.
North Dakota Oil & Gas Division spokeswoman Alison Ritter said five companies was the highest number to be placed under restriction at once since North Dakota's flaring order took effect Jan. 1.
The companies were Emerald Oil Inc. of Denver with 10 wells restricted, OXY USA Inc. with nine wells restricted, QEP Resources Inc. of Denver with six wells restricted, Abraxas Petroleum Corp. of San Antonio with three wells restricted, and Enerplus Corp. of Calgary with two wells restricted.
State officials also restricted production for some companies during January, February, and March, but Emerald Oil was the only company to face restrictions every month through April.
Enerplus was restricted for two wells in February, and Whiting Petroleum Corp. was restricted for three wells in February.
Separately, XTO Energy has asked North Dakota energy state regulators for an exception to the percentage of gas that can be burned off at 140 of its wells in Dunn and McKenzie counties.
A subsidiary of ExxonMobil Corp., XTO executives said they had nowhere to take the associated gas for processing. They asked for exceptions to the North Dakota flaring regulation until late 2016 when a proposed Bear Creek gas-processing plant in Dunn County is scheduled to become operational.
As of January, XTO flared 38% of its gas and sold the rest to Oneok Partners LP, Tulsa, and other gas-processing companies. XTO reduced its oil and gas production during February and March to comply, saying it also has delayed bringing wells onstream and is deploying gas-capture units.