"Shale Oil Boom Sends Waste Gas Burn-Off Soaring"

"Flaring of natural gas from wells is on the upswing in Texas and North Dakota as oil and gas producers rush to develop new shale plays, and critics are not happy about it.

Flaring, once a common practice, involves burning off natural gas that cannot be captured and sold in order to produce more valuable oil. It is frowned upon because it causes air pollution, boosts global warming and wastes natural resources.

Because the market currently prices oil much higher than natural gas, companies including Chesapeake Energy and EOG Resources have sped up the search for crude in basins like the Eagle Ford in Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota.

Gas comes up with the oil, and although pipeline companies are rushing to build the capacity needed to transport the gas to market, their efforts have not caught up with the spike in wells drilled. Unlike gas, oil can be trucked or railed to market."

Anna Driver and Bruce Nichols report for Reuters July 26, 2011.

Source: Reuters, 07/26/2011