By Austin Briggs – YourHub Reporter – August 25, 2014
LAKEWOOD — A Lakewood company has found a way to capture a byproduct of the booming energy economy — natural gas flared at remote oil well sites.
Robert Zubrin, the founder and president of Lakewood-based Pioneer Energy, has guided a team in designing the Mobile Alkane Gas Separator. The unit captures the waste byproduct of drilling with hopes of putting a dent in the 270-290 million tons of CO2 emissions produced worldwide every year from gas flaring while also turning a profit.
On federal lands in Colorado, operators have incinerated roughly $36 million in potential tax revenues since 2009.according to the advocacy organization Western Values Project.
“That doesn’t even count gas being flared on public and private land,” said director Ross Lane. “The amount of gas wasted is staggering, and this is happening while states struggle to balance their budgets and many families can’t heat their homes in winter.”
Zubrin said natural gas — which has been selling at relatively low costs — is flared because building pipelines to remote well sites is cost prohibitive or simply lags behind the rapid development of new wells. The mass incineration of the natural gas has drawn scrutiny from a wide range of stakeholders.
Flaring gas means states miss out on potential tax revenue, leaseholders don’t get royalties, energy companies are torching potential profits and environmentalist worry about increased greenhouse gas emissions.