Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Competition Going Up In Smoke

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.

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