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ND requires natural gas capturing plans

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- North Dakota oil companies must submit a gas capturing plan with drilling permit.

The new rules went into effect this month.

The state Industrial Commission, which regulates North Dakota's oil and gas industry, unanimously endorsed the proposal in March in an attempt to cut down the amount of natural gas that is burned off and wasted as a byproduct of oil production.

North Dakota drillers currently burn off, or flare, more than 30 percent of the valuable gas. That compares to the national average of less than 1 percent.

A group representing hundreds of companies working in North Dakota's oil patch say the industry expects to be capturing 85 percent of the gas by 2016, and 90 percent within six years.