Boosted by the fracking boom that has opened up fossil fuel reserves trapped under the Bakken Shale, North Dakota is now the second-largest oil producing state in America. But the state has a dirty little secret: drilling companies are wasting a lot of natural gas to get to that oil.
How much natural gas is getting wasted in North Dakota? Producers are flaring roughly one third of gas reserves in the state — enough natural gas each day to heat half a million homes. The flaring is so widespread, North Dakota is starting to rival some of America’s biggest cities in light pollution. Check it out:
The image comes from the sustainable investment group Ceres. According to the organization, one of its investors, Mercy Investment Services, has filed a shareholder resolution with the large oil developer Continental Resources to encourage adoption of policies that limit flaring.
According to the World Bank, the oil boom in North Dakota has made the U.S. one of the top-10 gas flaring countries in the world.