Competition Going Up In Smoke

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Do you know what you're looking at? This is a photo from space of the Bakken shale oil fields in North Dakota (circled) flaring off the natural gas that comes up with the oil. This is not the only place in the U.S. that the natural gas is simply burned to get rid of it (rather than captured, turned into methanol or ethanol, and used as a liquid fuel that gasoline would have to compete with).

The Bakken shale fields alone burn an enormous amount of natural gas — the equivalent of one fourth of the natural gas Americans use. What a waste! It could be made into a fuel that could sell for half of what gasoline is selling for. And it burns cleaner.

The Open Fuel Standard could provide a good reason for oil producers to capture this valuable resource. They could sell it as a high-octane fuel rather than letting it go up in flames.


Anonymous,  May 6, 2014 at 2:42 AM  

Natural gas isn't the only gas that is being burnt. h2s (fatal at low concentrations) is being burnt also. It's not like natural gas comes out of the ground ready for market.

Gasoline and Natural gas don't compete seeing that most companies sell both. Bp, Kbr, exxon...etc etc. And the market for natural gas vehicles is next to 0 in the usa.

Adam Khan May 7, 2014 at 1:10 AM  

Natural gas isn't competing YET. But the Open Fuel Standard would make sure most vehicles on the road would be capable of burning methanol -- a fuel easily and inexpensively made from natural gas. Read more about that here:

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