There is a lot of negative criticism, rightly so mind you, regarding the dangers of flaring gas from oil and gas wells. However, finding solutions to general problems is the way to make money in today's economy, so investors may be interested in knowing that flared gas is valuable and byproducts from that gas or natural gas liquids (NGLs) have potential use in cooking, fertilizer and powering energy infrastructure directly from the well head rather than using diesel fuel.
Norwegian oil giant Statoil (NYSE:EQNR) is hoping to strip out valuable NGLs like butane and propane from the flared gas and then store leftover gas in General Electric's (NYSE:GE) CNG-in-a-box, originally created to fuel cars and trucks, to fuel energy equipment versus tapping diesel fuel. Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL) has a stated goal of zero flaring-related emissions so investors may be attracted to their 10% NGL proved reserves, efficient drilling process and game-plan to lower the number of days drilling a well.
However, in terms or pure focus on how to capture those flares, privately held HY-BON has seen high demand for its vapor recovery units (VRU's), gas booster systems, casinghead pressure reducing units and compressor packages focused on handling low pressure gas. HY-BON designs can be used both on- & offshore and has a global customer base which includes heavyweights such as Chevron (NYSE:CVX), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), Apache (NYSE:APA) and Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN). Larry Richards, HY-BON's president, is quoted on the company's website saying "In most instances, we can eliminate an environmental problem and simultaneously make our customer money from a gas stream they already own – a rare combination!" Keep in mind, GE said back in 2011 that gas flaring emits 400 million metric tons of CO2 annually, the same as 77 million automobiles, without producing useful heat or electricity. That means there is a lot of opportunity for companies to get innovative when it comes to capturing flared gas.
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John Licata has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow John on Twitter @bluephoenixinc. The Motley Fool recommends Chevron and Statoil (ADR). The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.