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ND losing $1M monthly in natural gas taxes

Natural gas flares are seen at an oil pump site outside of Williston, North Dakota March 11, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Natural gas flares are seen at an oil pump site outside of Williston, North Dakota March 11, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- North Dakota Tax Department records show that the state is losing nearly $1 million monthly in natural gas tax revenue because about a third of it is being burned as a byproduct of oil production. State data show that about half of more than 10,000 producing wells in western North Dakota's oil patch flared natural gas in November. Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger says oil and gas tax collections for November were $252 million, with natural gas collections representing just $2 million. Oil producers can flare natural gas for a year without paying taxes or royalties on it.

Companies can then ask for an extension. Rauschenberger says only one well that had been flaring for more than a year was subjected to the tax in November.

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