Permian Advocates See Methane Emissions Progress
(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.
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