Sept. 11 -- Statoil , the Norway -based oil company with a major presence in North Dakota's Bakken Shale , will expand the use of technology that lets the company power its oil field equipment using natural gas that it otherwise would burn off.
The effort aims to address an ongoing challenge producers face in the Bakken and increasingly in other unconventional plays as well: When they drill for crude oil, they also get natural gas. But because gas prices are low and transportation infrastructure is scarce, they often burn the gas instead of trying to ship or sell it.
Statoil officials said Wednesday they will move beyond an eight-month pilot phase and use natural gas the company captures to power up to six drilling rigs anda fleet of hydraulic fracturing equipment in the Bakken.
Lance Langford , the oil company's vice president for Bakken development and production, said he believes the technology could work in other parts of the U.S. and in emerging shale plays elsewhere in the world.
"It's going to be much bigger than just the Bakken or just Statoil ," Langford said. "It will have a huge impact on the industry and on...