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Being of the gray-hair, no-hair generation, I can still hear my mother at the dinner table dressing down my siblings and me for not eating all the food on our plates, what with all those poor kids starving in China. Never mind that today, many of those poor starving kids are bankrolling a good part of the world. The point of the guilt trip remains very clear: It’s disrespectful to squander what one has in excess.
With recent reports that gas flaring has skyrocketed, particularly in oily Texas and North Dakota, it’s hard not to imagine a collective “tsk, tsk” coming from mothers everywhere. The Texas Railroad Commission says that over the past two years, the number of flaring permits it has authorized has more than doubled, while across western North Dakota, The New York Times last September reported that in excess of 100 MMcf of gas were being condemned to flare stacks every day. Certainly, when you juxtapose the relative price of a barrel of crude to an Mcf of gas, it makes sound business sense for oil producers to dispatch this uninvited byproduct to the heavens, rather than try to fit it through pipelines that are already full.
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