SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – Today, the United States Bureau of Land Management published a revision to the Waste Prevention Rule that will eliminate duplication and cut red tape for New Mexico’s oil and natural gas producers. The controversial rule was initially put in place during the waning moments of the Obama administration, while methane emissions around the country and New Mexico collapsed even as oil and natural gas production increased.
“Safely and responsibly producing oil and natural gas is a priority for all operators in New Mexico, and that includes capturing as much methane as possible,” added Flynn. “Methane emissions are falling because energy producers are leading the way in developing and implementing new technologies to reduce the footprint of operations and improve gas capture.”
According to EPA data, oil and natural gas methane emissions nationally have fallen 16.3% from 1990-2015, while oil production is up 28% and natural gas production has increased by 52%. In New Mexico, methane emissions in the San Juan Basin have dropped an astonishing 47% and fallen 6% in the Permian Basin, as state oil production in has climbed 104% and natural gas production has increased by 1%.
“Across the board, every producer wants to protect our environment and capture as much methane as possible. Innovation and responsible regulation is the key to getting it done,” added Flynn. “The revision of the BLM Waste Prevention Rule will allow producers to continue to focus on finding new solutions and technologies to drive further reductions in methane emissions.”
More than 50% of oil and natural gas production in New Mexico takes place on federally-managed lands. If it had stood, the BLM rule would have devastated the state’s budget, driving producers away from doing business on New Mexico’s vast federal lands. The impact to local economies would have been severe, especially in San Juan County where small natural gas producers and thousands of wells would have been forced to shut down. In the southeast, federal leases in BLM’s Carlsbad office would be at stake. The New Mexico field office there recently hauled-in nearly $1 billion in one sale, a record for federal onshore energy leases. More than $466 million of that revenue generated, or 48%, goes directly to the State of New Mexico to fund schools, roads, and public safety.
“In the real world, away from Washington, DC, these rules have major consequences for families who rely on a strong energy sector to provide for their children and loved ones, and also for those communities who rely on the energy industry to support small businesses and lift up their public schools,” concluded Flynn.
New Mexico’s oil and natural gas industry is currently in the midst of unprecedented growth, with the state having set annual records in oil production and number of active rigs. At the beginning of 2018, figures from the United States Energy Information Administration showed New Mexico leaped other oil-producing states to become the country’s third-largest producer of oil. This growth led to a recovery of New Mexico’s economy and finances, with the state now reporting a whopping $1.2 billion budget surplus largely driven by growth in the oil and gas industry. Most of the state’s revenue goes to funding for public education.
The oil and natural gas industry is New Mexico’s top economic driver, responsible for more than 100,000 New Mexico jobs and accounting for $1.742 Billion in tax revenue for schools, health care, and public safety. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) represents the hard-working men, women, and families of the oil and natural gas industry in New Mexico. NMOGA is dedicated to promoting safe and responsible energy policies, while strengthening New Mexico’s economy and ensuring a bright future for our state’s children.