Analysis: Methane Emissions Intensity Declines in the Permian Basin

Dec 17, 2019

TNG, PBPA, and NMOGA | December 17, 2019

Methane emissions intensity in the Permian Basin has declined significantly over the past seven years as oil production nearly tripled over the same period, according to a new analysis by Texans for Natural Gas, the Permian Basin Petroleum Association and the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA). The analysis also utilizes the World Bank’s data to show how flaring intensity in the Permian Basin is far lower than other major producing countries around the world, such as Russia and Venezuela.

The analysis, Flaring Progress in the Permian: The Untold Story, provides much-needed context to the current debate on methane emissions and flaring – context that has often been omitted from much of the public discussion. Intensity – or the amount of methane emitted or flared per barrel of oil equivalent produced – is used as a reliable metric by many organizations across the globe, including the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, and the ONE Future.


  • METHANE INTENSITY DECLINE: In the past seven years, Permian Basin operators have reduced methane emissions intensity by nearly 64 percent.
  • LOWER FLARING RATES: Based on data from the World Bank, if the Permian Basin were its own country it would rank 45th in flaring intensity – far below other major producers like Venezuela, Iran, and Russia.   
  • RECORD PERMIAN PRODUCTION: The Permian Basin continues to be the world’s top producing oilfield and is currently the fourth largest oil and gas producing area in the world. Since 2011, oil production in the Permian has increased by over 210 percent.

“This new analysis 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, spokesperson for Texans for Natural Gas. “We have replaced imported barrels with U.S. produced barrels, which have a much better environmental profile than what is produced overseas. American energy security is good for the economy and our environment.”

“The Permian Basin today is producing prosperity across Texas and New Mexico as well as American energy security. As this new analysis shows, our producers are proving every day that energy production and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive, and we are committed to sustainable energy policies. Our members’ efforts to reduce the environmental impact of our operations continues through innovation and investment and we are proud of the bright future for the Permian Basin,” said Ben Shepperd, President of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association.

Ryan Flynn, executive director of the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association said, “The Permian Basin is one of the top oil and natural gas fields in the entire world, and producers across the basin are demonstrating world-class leadership by reducing emissions alongside growing production. As energy markets across the globe look to America for their energy needs, we are creating the solutions of the future to deliver cleaner, more reliable energy to people and communities in every corner of the planet. We can and will show the world that American and Permian energy leadership means providing accessible, affordable oil and natural gas while protecting our environment.”

“Texas oil and gas producers continue to be global leaders, not only in production but in making environmental progress. Over the past seven years, oil and natural gas production in the Permian Basin is up more than 200% and methane intensity is down nearly 64%. Across its operations, the industry is using technology and innovation every day to make breakthroughs in producing reliable and affordable energy supplies while advancing climate progress and environmental solutions.” Said Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association.

The infographic can be found here.