North Dakota researchers are studying the prospect of using wasted natural gas from oil wells to make fertilizer for farmers.
The study will take about a year, but preliminary data is promising, said Cole Gustafson, chair of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University.
"We have some information, just our initial analysis shows that we should be able to produce fertilizer in the neighborhood of $500 to $600 per ton, which is at a substantial reduction from current market prices," Gustafson said.
Many oil wells in the state burn what's called flare gas because there are no pipelines to collect it.
One of the key challenges will be developing an efficient system for collecting the gas, Gustafson said.
Fertilizer production is currently controlled primarily by two or three international companies, he said.