Permian Advocates See Methane Emissions Progress

Permian Advocates See Methane Emissions Progress
Industry advocates say methane-emissions intensity in the Permian is not as bad as it looks.

(Bloomberg) -- Although drillers in North America’s biggest oil field are burning off more natural gas than ever before, industry advocates say it’s not as bad as it looks.

Methane-emissions intensity in the Permian Basin plunged 64% in the past seven years, even as crude production surged, according to a report by Texans for Natural Gas, the Permian Basin Petroleum Association and the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association.

Emissions intensity is a measure of how much methane is burned in flares or allowed to waft off into the atmosphere for every barrel of crude produced. By that metric, if the Permian was a country, it would rank 45th worldwide, behind nations such as Venezuela and Iran, the groups said Tuesday in the report titled Flaring Progress in the Permian: The Untold Story.

Permian explorers are flaring more than ever before as record oil drilling created a surfeit in a region too sparsely populated to use all the gas that arises as a byproduct of crude output. Permian drillers flared enough gas last year to fuel every household furnace, stove and water heater in the state of Texas.

The report “gives a more accurate view of methane and flaring, accounting for the Permian’s massive energy potential and its wide-reaching benefits,” said Elizabeth Caldwell, a Texans for Natural Gas spokeswoman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Carroll in Houston at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at, Joe Carroll, Christine Buurma

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