Five oil companies in North Dakota were recently ordered to cut their production in the state for failing to meet new gas flaring restrictions, as set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency, which went into effect at the beginning of the year, according to the Associated Press.
Per the new requirements, companies must capture at least 77% of natural gas produced during oil production to reduce methane emissions and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). After failing to comply with the new rules, the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division ordered Emerald Oil, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, QEP, Abraxas Petroleum and Enerplus to reduce their production to 100 barrels of oil per day at certain wells or face additional daily penalties.
The EPA aims to cut global methane emissions by 40-45% by 2025 compared to 2012 levels, by specifically focusing on emissions from high-volume hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking.”
Many top producers oppose the regulations as unnecessary and expensive, as the new rules are expected to require the use of reduced emission completion (REC) technologies and utilize flaring as a last resort. REC technologies cost anywhere from $700 and $6,500 per day, according to the EPA, so it’s no surprise that flaring is the more favorable, low cost and most commonly used option. But flaring carries its own problems.
Gas flaring is a method of incinerating impurities in raw natural gas and carbon dioxide. During oil production, natural gas is carried through the pipelines along with the flow of crude. However, the construction of gas-gathering pipelines has failed to keep up with the rapid increases in drilling in states like North Dakota. Without adequate pipelines, the solution is to flare the gas and convert the waste methane into carbon dioxide, polluting the air with carcinogenic toxins.
The National Oceanic Administration Association (NOAA) estimates that gas flares pump 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere worldwide each year, adversely impacting local populations of human and wildlife, and often resulting in loss of livelihood and severe health issues.
The environmental and economic obstacles are nothing but opportunity for Houston-based Well Power, Inc. (OTCQB: WPWR). Well Power has the licensing rights to Texas, along with the first right of refusal on the other U.S. states, to a new technology solution that processes waste natural gas into “clean power” and engineered fuels. Based on proprietary technology, these Micro Refinery Units (MRU) are mobile, high-yield and can be deployed with minimum capital expenditure.
The MRU is an assembly of tested commercial technologies with a proprietary micro-reactor system for hydrocarbon processing and catalytic reactions. The company intends to provide the MRU with full-service engineering, design, construction, modular fabrication, maintenance, and construction management services to clients in the upstream areas of exploration and production as they maintain compliance with the EPA’s new regulations.
To further support the technology and its efficacy, Well Power will also offer consulting services, process assessments, facility appraisals, feasibility studies, technology evaluations, project finance structuring and support, and multi-client subscription services.
As companies like Emerald Oil, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, QEP, Abraxas Petroleum and Enerplus struggle to meet EPA mandates, Well Power’s technology creates the opportunity to generate value from a wasted resource while simultaneously enabling wider access to energy, improved environmental conditions, and economic development for local populations.
For more information, visit www.wellpowerinc.com
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