Archive for July, 2014

Burning off natural gas at an oil well 1

I’m not sure this is fun, but it is interesting and important.

Fire is energy and typically energy is valuable. As a result, it is odd to think of a blast of fire so hot that you can’t get with 30 feet (9 meters) of it and so loud that it will give you a headache if you are near it for any length of time as a waste product, but that is what a flare of natural gas at an oil well is. Millions of dollars of natural gas are burned off each year in North Dakota  because the latest rush to exploit the state’s oil resources outpaced the infrastructure required to collect and transport the natural gas that often accompanies the oil out of the ground.

In the photo, the natural gas flares are over 100 feet (30+ meters) from the oil wells, which I’m guessing are about 40 feet (12 meters) tall. The flares are highly variable and the only thing I can really say about size is that the one on the left, in particular, was big and hot, and was the most fiery thing I have ever experienced.

Something a little different for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Fire.

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The ability to see for long distances is one of the many wonderful things about North Dakota because it allows you to see really big things in their entirety. This is nicely demonstrated in this photo of the downpour from a thunderstorm.

Thunderstorm

Rolling Hills of North Dakota

North Dakota is a far more geographically/geologically diverse state than I ever would have imagined before meeting my wife brought me into closer contact with the state.  This leads to surprising scenery if you are expecting flat lands. An oil drill is on the horizon on the right hand side of the photo.