Unscheduled maintenance on the Alliance pipeline turned off the faucet for about 220 million cubic feet of gas per day out of the Bakken last week.
The Alliance pipeline runs from Saskatchewan to Illinois, and, in addition to some natural gas from the Bakken, also carries natural gas from Canada.
Whether the shutdown led to more flaring or to less production is not yet known, North Dakota Pipeline Authority Justin Kringstad said.
The repair work was extended to June 24 due to weather and working conditions, Kringstad said. It lasted about a week.
Kringstad estimated the amount of gas affected by the shutdown was 220 million cubic feet per day.
If the shutdown does cause increased flaring, it’s not likely to result in any penalties to the companies involved. That’s because Alliance issued a Force Majeure letter to those shipping volumes on its line earlier in June. That is among allowed exemptions to North Dakota’s flaring regulations.
The state has had problems meeting the gas capture goals it has set for industry. Not only has crude oil production hit new records, filling up existing capacity, but the ratio of gas to oil in those barrels has been rising as well.
Several companies have announced projects that should help ease the problem.
Oasis just completed the Wild Basin plant, which is to process 200 million cubic feet per day once it is fully operational.
The plant was to have already been in operation, but needs more NGL takeaway capacity, according to reports during a recent report from the Division of Oil and gas on monthly oil production.
ONEOK, meanwhile, announced it would build out two Demick’s Lake plants, each of which would process 200 million cubic feet per day. ONEOK has also announced plans to build an NGL line to help take y-grade liquids to market.
Hess and Targa are partnering to build the Little Missouri 4, a 200 million cubic feet per day plant that will be located just south of the Missouri River in McKenzie County.
Bear Creek, another ONEOK facility, will get a 95 million cubic feet per day expansion. The plant is north of Killdeer. And the Arrow Bear Den, a 30 million cubic feet per day facility, will add another 120 million cubic feet per day.
These projects will add around 815 million cubic feet per day of gas processing capacity.
Projections by the state’s pipeline authority show capacity catching up with production sometime in 2020, assuming there are no delays in announced projects.