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    Upstream challenges Texas gas flaring report


Earthworks' report should not be taken seriously, a Texas group representing the oil and gas industry said.

by: Daniel Graeber

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Upstream challenges Texas gas flaring report

A Texas oil and gas industry group said August 19 that a report had wrongly claimed operators were flaring gas in the Permian Basin without permits. With much of the gas being associated with more valuable oil production, there is not always enough takeaway capacity for the gas.

Environmental advocacy group Earthworks said state energy regulators at the Texas Railroad Commission had systematically failed to regulate the flaring of natural gas. It argued the state was not cracking down or taking regulations seriously.

“Even as Texas regulators, oil companies and environmentalists have come to agree that flaring of gas — methane and associated tox­ic volatile organic compounds — produced by oil extraction should cease, flaring in Tex­as has continued to increase in frequency,” the report from Earthworks read.

In response, the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO), a trade group representing nearly 3,000 individuals and companies from the Texas oil and gas industry, said the report should not be taken seriously.

TIPRO president Ed Longanecker said Earthworks dismissed anything that ran counter to their “preconceived” position. Gas flaring in Texas, he said, is down more than 70% over the last two years and down 77% in the Permian basin since 2011. “This is an unserious report that should not fool anyone,” Longanecker said.

In a January report, Norwegian energy consultancy Rystad reported the share of gross gas output flared at the wellhead in the Permian plummeted to a modern shale-era record low.

Preliminary data analysis shows only 1.6% of the basin’s gas production was flared in the fourth quarter of 2020. In the previous quarter it had been 1.7%.