Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is the subject of a number of controversies in the energy industry and there are many opponents firmly against the practice. This isn't new information. While some efforts have been made on both sides of the spectrum to find a happier medium, there may still be some dissention between those in favor of it and those against it for some time.
Fracking isn't the only oil production practice under heavy scrutiny either. Flaring has also evoked a substantial amount of protest, and even producers agree that things aren't perfect.
Flaring is the act of burning excess gasses trapped in oil, and is typically done because producers lack the solutions to store or transport it. Modern oilfield technologies allow companies to begin extracting oil long before infrastructure can be developed to transport the gases released during the process, leaving producers with no choice but to burn it as method of disposal.
There are those who are against flaring for environmental reasons. The burning of gas can potentially damage a production field's surrounding area. Producers, on the other hand, take an economical approach..
The situation is coming to a head in Wyoming, and Shawn Reese, policy director for Governor Matt Mead, told the Billings Gazette that there needs to be better communication between both sides to arrive at a solution that appeases all parties.
"Flaring is an issue that reaches into revenue and environmental concerns, and it's something that we frankly need to do a better job coordinating," said Reese, who admitted there may be some gaps in the way it is regulated. "I don't know if it's a regulatory gap, but I don't think we're communicating well what the situation is."
Ultimately, the best way to alleviate any potential hazards from flaring, whether they be financial or environmental, is implementing proper oilfield equipment. Using tools that promote efficient extraction and streamlined processes can reduce the risk of excess gas contained in oil, thus making producers more profitable while maintaining the health of the environment.