Why vent or flare natural gas?

Can someone explain why the well operators are wasting natural gas by venting/flaring?

To me it seems like drilling a water well and letting the water flow out on the ground.

It is because there's not enough pipeline or gathering systems in place and the price of oil is out waying the current price of gas. They currently have several pipeline project working, but wont be completed for a several months. Anyway you look at it, its money up in smoke.


And they can't just stop extracting the gas?

I would think since both the oil and gas are being produced in the same interval that shutting one in would stop flow of the other, but I know a man that's a drilling consultant working in the area and I will ask him.


Thanks, Scott!

J. Matthews

I some what got answer to your question. The gas can't be blocked in do to the "gas" drive of most wells. By blocking gas flow will also stop flow of the oil. Some companies are putting in temporary poly pipe for the capturing of the gas and others are just flaring. Seems to be choice of the operating companies. He did say that the pipelines were coming along good and probably in a few month less wells will be flaring off gas.

Hope this helps....


J. Matthews -- putting $s and cash flow into the equation... GIVEN: if you have a well w/natgas 'associated' with oil... you cannot selectively produce one and not the other. So, on a Btu per unit equivalent basis, if you are receiving $17 per MMBtu for your oil (i.e., ~$100/bbl)... AND you do not have a ready outlet (pipeline) to accept your 'associated' gas... you may very well elect to burn (flare) your otherwise ~$2.50 per MMBtu gas? In cash flow terms... $17/unit 'in hand' at a cost of 'wasting' $2.50 gas. Later -- Buzz

Scott & Buzz:

Thank you for giving me some perspective on the production business.

This is all alien territory for me. :-)

I assume that, if there is a proper delivery/storage system in place, then the operator would be able to separate the gas & oil production and sell both to make even more money?

Yes the use of an oil, gas, water separator is typically installed on the lease to separate the various phases an they are sent to either storage tanks or to gathering lines. Seems right now the drilling activity in the area exceeds the pipeline capacity in the area.


So I have been reading.

Now if they'll just start drilling in A-3151. :-)
Scott B said: Seems right now the drilling activity in the area exceeds the pipeline capacity in the area.