News Inferno; October 21, 2013
North Dakota landowners who lease property to energy companies have filed 10 class-action lawsuits over the burning of natural gas in the Bakken shale oil field. The suits seek millions of dollars in what the owners say are lost royalties.
The property owners charge that oil companies are deliberately burning off natural gas rather than building pipelines to transport it, thus depriving them of royalties, The New York Times reports. Roughly 1,500 gas fires burn in western North Dakota as companies burn off the cheap gas that bubbles to the surface along with sought-after oil. The companies flare the gas rather than transport it, wasting a clean, efficient fuel, the suits charge. Continental Resources, XTO Energy, SM Energy and Marathon Oil are among the companies being sued.
In the last two years, according to the Times, flared gas has nearly tripled in North Dakota. Almost 30 percent of the state’s gas output is burned at wells, producing emissions equivalent to more than two medium-size coal-fired power plants.
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