Politicize Everything: North Dakota Democrat Blames Pipeline Explosion On Flaring


It’s now an election year, so that means North Dakota Democrats are cranking up their bi-annual gripe campaign against all things energy, hoping to finally get some traction against Republicans who dominate state government. Some of their gripes are more valid than others, but here’s a real facepalm moment from state Senator Tyler Axness (D-Fargo) who has decided to politicize a pipeline explosion in Canada that is causing gas shortages in the Red River Valley.

Xcel Energy is currently asking people in the Red River Valley (the Grand Forks/Fargo regions) to turn down their thermostats because because a pipeline explosion in Canada has created a temporary bottleneck in gas supply.

What does that have to do with flaring in the North Dakota oil fields, or anywhere else for that matter? Absolutely nothing. Flaring is a product of a) rapid growth in gas production b) rock-bottom low gas prices and c) delays in infrastructure buildout to capture the gas.

Senator Axness would apparently like us to believe that the gas shortage in the Red River Valley is somehow a result of all the natural gas being wasted in the oil fields. But that’s…kind of dumb. The flaring in the oil fields has more to do with a glut of natural gas available on the market, and the rapid pace of additional gas production in the Bakken, than anything else.

We could be capturing every cubic foot of natural gas being produced in the Bakken, and this breakdown in infrastructure would still be causing a shortage for Red River Valley customers.

But hey, let’s not let facts get in the way of politics, shall we Senator Axness?