March 18, 2022
The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at Arizona State University recently released Gaslit, a short and misleading documentary regarding natural gas flaring by the U.S. oil and natural gas industry. While the report includes creative cinematography, it falls short on the facts.
- A flare is a combustion device that minimizes the amount of pollutants emitted into the atmosphere. Any well-functioning combustion device (an oilfield flare or the burner on a gas stove) produces a clean result.
- Texas oil and natural gas operators take emissions seriously. As highlighted in The Environmental Partnership’s 2021 Annual Report, leak detection, replacement of field equipment like pneumatic controllers, and increased monitoring all help reduce overall emissions. The Environmental Partnership is comprised of companies in the U.S. oil and natural gas industry committed to continuously improving the industry’s environmental performance.
- According to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), the Texas regulatory agency for the oil and gas industry, statewide flaring fell to a new record low of 0.19 percent in November 2021. Texas has one of the lowest flaring rates of oil and natural gas producing states.
- New protocols and resources provided by the RRC, including the updated Form PR, Monthly Production Report and the Flare/Vent Exceptions Query, will increase transparency, communication, and will likely lead to a continued low flaring rate.
- Form PR Monthly Production Reports are a new, revised version of the regulatory form that makes remarks by operators uniform by requiring categorization of the authorization for the release.
- The Flare/Vent Exceptions Query is updated every night and makes available all applications for exception to Statewide Rule 32 (SWR 32).
- The Texas Methane and Flaring Coalition’s (the Coalition) work continues to demonstrate industry’s commitment to best practices and technology-driven solutions. The Coalition produced a Flaring Best Practices document to provide information and resources on how industry practices can help continue the downward trend on flaring, and the Coalition’s Methane and Emissions Best Practices outlines voluntary steps industry is taking to curb methane emissions.
- Texas, and federal regulators, have the most stringent regulations in effect on the planet. A barrel of oil produced in Texas is the safest “greenest” barrel produced anywhere in the world.
Without a doubt, Texas operators are safely achieving record low flaring rates and continue to decrease methane emissions even as production has increased. This is accomplished by proactively innovating, utilizing new technologies and working collaboratively to develop industry-led solutions, all with the goal of continuing to be the global leader in the responsible production of energy that has powered life for more than a century.