A North Dakota group presented a plan last Wednesday to state regulators to capture most of the natural gas that is being burned as a byproduct of oil production. 

The North Dakota Petroleum Council’s flaring task force presented the plan to state regulators to capture 85 percent of natural gas within two years and 90 percent in six years. 

About 30 percent of the state’s gas production is currently being burned off or flared because development of the pipelines and processing facilities needed to handle it has not kept pace with production. 

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The industry has invested more than $6 billion in infrastructure to capture natural gas, according to council officials. 

The council represents hundreds of companies working in North Dakota’s oil patch. 

Valero upgrading refineries in Eagle Ford Shale

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Valero Energy Corp. announced Jan. 27 that it will spend $730 million to upgrade two Texas refineries to process additional crude from the Eagle Ford Shale. 

The San Antonio-based company, and the nation’s largest independent refiner, plans to spend $390 million on its Houston refinery and $340 million on its Corpus Christi plant, according to company spokesman Bill Day. 

Valero plans to complete the upgrades by the end of 2015 and has already received approval from state environmental regulators to begin the work. 

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The Corpus Christi refinery has a total capacity of 325,000 b/d, while the Houston refinery has a capacity of 160,000 b/d.           

The Houston plant, after upgrades, will be able to process an additional 90,000 barrels per day of crude, while Corpus Christi will be able to process an additional 70,000 b/d. 

Komatsu, GE Mining create new company

Komatsu and GE Mining, a division of GE Transportation, are joining forces to help the mining industry. 

The two companies announced the new collaboration to develop mining equipment on Jan. 29. In a press release, the company states that by combining their expertise in mining equipment and propulsion systems, they can help meet the needs of customers and partners worldwide. 

Initial focus with the two companies will be to develop solutions to increase customer productivity and safety for underground mines, according to the press release. 

Komatsu and GE Transportation’s new company — Komatsu GE Mining Systems – will be located at the GE Transportation facility in Erie, Penn. Operations are slated to begin in April and both companies will each own 50 percent of the new company. 

This isn’t the first relationship between the two companies. They’ve been partners for Komatsu electric dump trucks for use in open-pit mines with GE supplying the electric drive systems.

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