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Moving into the Bakken: Montana company looks to reduce flare emissions in western North Dakota

A gas flare burns Saturday, Oct. 14, north of South Heart. G2G Solutions of Billings, Mont., announced it would deploy mobile flare gas treatment technology to North Dakota to help reduce natural gas flare emissions.

A Billings, Mont., company will try to put the smoke out of gas flares in western North Dakota while it waits for pipe to be laid to collect the "commodity."

"Essentially, what we have done is add value to a flare stream that didn't have value before," G2G co-founder Brian Cebull said. "We are turning that flare stream into a revenue stream."

G2G Solutions, an environmental service company, announced plans to install and operate "flare gas treatment technology" for well sites in North Dakota's Bakken shale field, according to a press release. G2G plans to deploy its technology in the spring.

The Bakken covers 18,000 square miles in western North Dakota.

The treatment would "drastically" reduce emissions from flared natural gas, Cebull said. He could not give the specifics of the product for marketing reasons, but he described it as a "mobile gas treatment technology."

"Our technology is designed to be mobile and scalable and allow us to go from well site to well site in very short time frames to be able to essentially capture the most valuable part of the natural gas flare stream," he said.

G2G would focus on capturing hydrocarbon liquids from the flares. Cebull said Bakken natural gas is rich with those liquids.

"By stripping those heavier hydrocarbons out of the natural gas flare stream, we significantly reduce the carbon emissions up to 60 percent," he said.

G2G will also be able to make the hydrocarbon liquids into a "marketable commodity," Cebull said, which will be stored on-site and be sold by producers.

Cebull said G2G's technology will also help the environment by reducing emissions.

North Dakota has met some challenges capturing all the gas, including keeping up with the demand, said Justin Kringstad, North Dakota Pipeline Authority director. The oil and gas industry has invested more than $3.5 billion.

Kringstad said it was exciting that G2G wanted to come into North Dakota to help capture natural gas from Bakken well sites in western North Dakota.

"It's encouraging to have additional investment to capture this natural resource," he said. "We know there is tremendous value in it, and that's why we're seeing incredible amounts of investment ... in capturing this resource."

There are a number of businesses trying to reduce the amount of emissions released into the atmosphere, said Ron Ness, North Dakota Petroleum Council president. Multiple companies have built gas processing plants in the Bakken, including Denver-based Whiting Petroleum Corp., which has a plant south of Belfield.

"All ideas are good ideas," he said. "Every (idea) will be helpful."

G2G wanted to get into North Dakota to help solve the flaring issues the oil boom has presented, Cebull said. He is aware of the state's problem to get pipelines into the ground to capture and transport the "valuable commodity."

"We see this issue with the pipeline lasting a long time," he said. "It's not criticism of the pipeline companies. It's just because of the incredible drilling and completion pace in the (Williston) Basin."

Cebull said the technology will be implemented in phases. The ultimate goal is to capture 100 percent of the natural gas being flared.