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Joe Stern, Appleton, Wis., Published December 13 2013

Letter: Oil industry meets challenge

The oil industry seems to have a new fire lit in its efforts to reduce flaring. Everyone from the governor to the top producers have made it a top priority. This is a good thing. It means more investment in North Dakota, growing royalty payments and increased tax revenues from oil and gas.

Quick research shows how much the industry is investing to solve the challenge. In just the past couple weeks, ONEOK and Hess have announced projects that add nearly half a billion cubic feet of natural gas processing per day. ONEOK will spend more than $750 million on natural gas pipelines and plants. Last year, the industry connected 87 percent of new wells within one year.

As an outdoor enthusiast and someone who worked in the Bakken throughout most of 2013, the issue is important to me. Both economically and as stewards of the land, we must use our resources prudently. It’s good to see the industry take real action on the issue.

The Bakken started as a race to drill as fast as possible with a priority to deliver oil over natural gas. While we may need the oil more than gas, these stats show the industry is changing and better managing the resources of the Bakken.