We all know oil production is profitable (see Exxon), but apparently the Shale Gas boom hasn’t produced enough money for the construction of pipelines needed to contain gas released during oil production. So what to do? Well, burn it off–green house emissions be damned (and don’t even think about the safety of people living nearby). This process of burning the released gas, known as flaring, is working out well. How well? You can now see it from space.
In a night-time satellite photo released from Nasa, lights from the flares burning in the Bakken and Texas’ Eagle Ford shale fields can be seen. CNBC published a story (originally from Financial Times) that provided enough info to generate serious questions. The first paragraph says it all:
Oil companies at the heart of the US shale oil boom are burning off enough gas to power all the homes in Chicago and Washington combined in a practice causing growing concern about the waste of resources and damage to the environment.
This is probably a good time to rethink the production of shale oil.