NMOGA Report Identifies Strategies and Opportunities to Reduce Oilfield Flaring

May 19, 2020

NMOGA Press Release | May 19, 2020

NMOGA Report Identifies Strategies and Opportunities to Reduce Oilfield Flaring

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – Today, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association released a new report highlighting strategies for both operators and regulators to reduce the frequency and duration of flaring in the production of oil and natural gas in New Mexico.

Flaring is the controlled combustion of natural gas to eliminate potentially unsafe, flammable vapors, and to destroy unwanted emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds. The report, Flaring in the Oilfield, is a resource for the public and policymakers in understanding why flaring occurs and how the process is necessary for the safe development of New Mexico’s natural resources.

“Our industry is committed to protecting our environment and capturing as much natural gas as possible while reliably delivering energy for communities, families, and businesses across the world. This commitment includes doing our part to identify and promote sound, science-based regulatory approaches to reduce emissions, as this report seeks to do,” said Ryan Flynn, Executive Director of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. “The United States is the leader in safe and responsible energy production, and we will continue to lead by leveraging the unrivaled technology and talent inherent in our oil and gas industry.”

In the report, NMOGA recommends that regulators update state rules to require plans for the capture of natural gas before drilling, shorten the allowable length of flaring events from 60 days to 30 days, and improve flaring data through consistent and streamlined reporting protocols. Operators are encouraged to increase communication and planning with midstream partners, consider curtailing production on a short-term basis to mitigate flaring events, and develop and deploy advanced technology solutions. The report also details when flaring is necessary and how the process helps to ensure safe operations throughout the energy supply chain.

Flaring in the Oilfield is a companion to NMOGA’s Methane Mitigation Roadmap released last year. The roadmap includes analysis and recommendations for the four highest reported sources of methane emissions, including fugitive emissions, storage tanks, pneumatic devices, and liquids unloading operations. With appropriate regulatory flexibility, NMOGA’s roadmap outlines support for annual leak detection and repair with exemptions for low producing wells and facilities that are not required to obtain a Notice of Intent; storage vessel control requirements with appropriate thresholds; phase-out of high-bleed pneumatic controllers unless required for safety function; and, onsite monitoring of manual liquids unloading operations.

Last year, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham tasked state agencies and regulatory bodies with identifying and crafting regulations to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations. Following Governor Lujan Grisham’s lead, the New Mexico Environment Department and New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department have initiated processes to develop new rules to reduce emissions.

“NMOGA agrees with the goal of reducing emissions and we will continue to work with federal and state leaders to reduce our environmental footprint and combat climate change through pragmatic and cost-effective regulations that promote creativity and innovation,” added Flynn.

The full Flaring in the Oilfield report is available here and at nmoga.org.

About NMOGA:
The New Mexico Oil & Gas Association (NMOGA) is a statewide coalition of oil and natural gas stakeholders, individuals, and companies dedicated to promoting the safe and environmentally responsible development of New Mexico’s oil and natural gas resources. With more than 1,000 members, NMOGA advocates for sensible and balanced policies for the development, production, and transportation of oil and natural gas, and works to increase the public’s awareness and understanding of industry operations and contributions to the state. Learn more at www.nmoga.org.