Okay, this is way under your floor, like 7,000 feet. But a $140,000 research project was approved Friday by the North Dakota Industrial Commission to evaluate the potential of injecting produced natural gas underground and retrieving it three to five years later, by when the state expects to have additional infrastructure to process and transport it, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
If proven feasible, such storage would help North Dakota oil operators meet natural gas flaring targets, which is difficult to do today given how much gas and oil is now being produced there and a lack of talent to handle it quickly. The alternative is more flaring, which environmentalists oppose because it increases carbon dioxide emissions.
In July, North Dakota set a new production record of 1.27 million barrels of oil a day. Its natural gas production also hit a record 2.4 billion cubic feet per day that month, leading operators to flare 436 million cubic feet per day of natural gas that month; another all-time high.
With a report due by the end of this year, the underground storage research project will be funded by a grant from the state’s Oil and Gas Research Program and be conducted at the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center.