Methane emissions in Texas’ biggest oil and gas-producing counties cratered between 2011 and 2016, according to a report from a group that promotes natural gas production.
Emissions dropped over 211,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) during that five-year period among the state’s natural gas-producing counties, according to an analysis from Texans for Energy. Similar reduction levels were noted among the ten largest oil-producing counties.
“The story on methane is all about technological innovation, particularly how Texas oil and gas producers have been able to make us more energy secure while also reducing emissions,” Steve Everley, a spokesman for Texans for Natural Gas, said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
CO2e is a measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases — usually methane and nitrous oxide — based upon their global warming potential.
Production spiked while emissions significantly decreased, the analysis also found. Midland County, for instance, produced nearly 73 million barrels of oil in 2016, roughly a 296 percent increase since 2011, according to the report that was conducted using the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.
Technological advancements are successfully doing what regulations could only hope, Everley said of the techniques energy producers use to extract natural gas from Texas’ Permian Basis. “Critics of the U.S. oil and gas boom have repeatedly claimed that methane is an environmental threat that requires new regulations from Washington,” he added.
Midland Country was not the only country in oil-rich Texas to see dramatic emission decrease. Natural gas production in Webb County increased by 127 percent between 2011 and 2016, and emissions in the county plummeted about 37,000 metric tons CO2e — or a 97 percent decline.
President Donald Trump announced in December 2017 that he would suspend or delay key requirements of a former President Barack Obama-era global warming regulation to reduce methane emissions on federal lands. Oil companies have complained about the regulations since they were implemented in 2015.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will delay portions of the Obama administration’s methane flaring rule until 2019 to give the agency time to review the rule. BLM found the oil and gas industry would be “unnecessarily burdened” by a regulation that may be rewritten.
Obama finalized the rule in 2016 as part of his plan to fight global warming.
Forcing oil companies to install new equipment to reduce venting and flaring would supplement costs to taxpayers, officials claimed at the time. Still, the rule was estimated to cost $1.8 billion, and was finalized during the final weeks of the Obama administration.
Environmentalists defended the rule as necessary for cutting down methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Obama would not have been able to meet his Paris climate accord pledge without tackling the country’s methane emissions.
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