Recommended Posts

BP and Shell Call on Texas to End Routine Flaring



(Bloomberg) -- Two of Europe’s biggest oil companies urged Texas regulators to end the routine flaring of natural gas, joining with large investors who want greater oversight of the harmful environmental practice.

BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are calling for tougher rules than those proposed by the Railroad Commission of Texas, which regulates oil and gas in the state. The commission is considering requiring operators to disclose more data when they apply for flaring permits and issuing them for shorter periods.

“We believe there is a real opportunity for the state to set the bar for others to follow,” BP and Shell said in a joint letter to the regulator dated Sept. 4 and published late Wednesday. “We encourage the Railroad Commission of Texas to support an ambition of zero routine flaring in Texas.”

Last week, investors managing more than $2 trillion asked the commission to end routine gas flaring by 2025. AllianceBernstein, California State Teachers’ Retirement System and Legal & General Investment Management said the actions of leading operators “demonstrate the financial and technical viability” of their proposal.

The boom in shale production over the past decade has led to a massive excess of natural gas, which is often a by-product of oil in some basins such as the Permian. Prices for gas are often so low that it’s cheaper for operators to burn it, releasing carbon dioxide and sometimes methane, rather than pay for pipelines to take it to market.

Routine flaring refers to the burning of gas during normal operations. Most operators and regulators also reserve the right to flare during emergency situations.

The business-friendly commission has historically taken a hands-off approach to flaring, granting permits and waivers when needed, but that may soon change with increasing pushback from environmentalists, investors and some oil companies.

In their letter, BP and Shell didn’t set a date for ending routine flaring but called for improvements from operators, improved flaring data, more oversight and collaboration with pipeline operators.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


On 9/11/2020 at 8:37 AM, ceo_energemsier said:

BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are calling for tougher rules than those proposed by the Railroad Commission of Texas, which regulates oil and gas in the state.

Two of the biggest polluters in the oil world telling TRRC to go zero flaring? Kick em outta of the state, damn foreigners !!


Edited by Old-Ruffneck
added photo
  • Haha 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, Old-Ruffneck said:

Two of the biggest polluters in the oil world telling TRRC to go zero flaring? Kick em outta of the state, damn foreigners !!




Dust off the old BP book, and remember when they re-branded themselves as BP= Beyond Petroleum and that failed so they came back to petroleum?

Shell and BP both UK based , caving under pressure from eco-terrorists, trying to show a better image of themselves with smoke and mirrors, writing down/claiming to leave assets in the ground.


Why dont the two of them show individual corporate responsibility and put forth procedures and technologies deployment to end flaring?!!!!

  • Great Response! 4

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Old-Ruffneck said:

Where this well is, approximately 20 miles s.e. Pecos, Tx and if i took a panoramic photo you'd see no less than 10 other wells with varying size flares and not a pipeline within 15 miles at least. Pipeline companies no want that noxious crap in their lines anyway....burn it off is less harmful than discharging straight outta the well. 

BP and Shell both have wells with flares here in West Texas. Having worked on drilling rig in 80 for Shell i can tell you their ethics are crap. BP we already have seen their results....2019 testing of shell-fish show to still have high toxic levels of the dispersants used. 

  • Like 1
  • Great Response! 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Railroad Commission eyes change to flaring rules



After promising in summer to tackle flaring, the Texas Railroad Commission could soon take up rules that would reduce the extended time during which drillers could burn gas at a new well.

The RRC is reviewing the proposed changes and the three-member panel could vote on the issue at an upcoming meeting. It didn’t vote on the plan at its meeting Tuesday.

Flaring opponents, however, say the proposed reporting changes don’t go far enough to curtail the practice. They instead demand that the commission look to its own history — to a time when it rigorously enforced state laws against the waste of hydrocarbon resources — and take steps to eliminate routine flaring within five years.


Routine gas flaring occurs when an operator brings an oil well on line without access to a market for the natural gas produced with the crude. Current state regulations allow producers to burn excess gas for 10 days after the well is brought on line.


Then RRC staff will typically issue 45-day extensions up to 180 days. Commissioners must approve requests for extensions beyond 180 days.



As production in Texas grew during the past decade, the number of flaring exceptions has skyrocketed to almost 7,000 in 2019 from 158 in 2009, according to Railroad Commission statistics.


For years, the RRC has approved virtually all applications for flaring extensions. According to an August Environmental Defense Fund blog post, “since 2013, operators have obtained 35,000 flaring permits without a single denial.”

The flaring issue has been around since the earliest days of Texas oil production, but during the 20th century the RRC required producers to shut in wells until pipelines were built to carry the gas to market.

Past decades saw the RRC focused on efforts to prevent waste of a natural resource, but much of the flaring debate today stems from its environmental impact.

While environmental groups, such as EDF and the Sierra Club, have fought to reduce or eliminate routine flaring for some time, they have recently been joined in the fight by some seemingly unlikely allies — including international oil and gas giants BP and Shell, and big investor groups, such as the California State Teacher Retirement System.


In August, the Railroad Commission said the proposed changes would also provide additional data such as the location of the flare stack and document efforts to connect the well to a gas collection system.


The period of time for which an operator could obtain an administrative exception would be reduced by 50 to 80 percent in some cases, the RRC said.

The data sheet change marks “an important first step in ensuring we have the data necessary to get an accurate view of the scope of flaring in Texas,” said Wayne Christian, then the RRC chairman.

Flaring opponents, however, say the commission needs to move more aggressively toward eliminating most flaring.


“At the end of the day, we can end routine flaring. We’ve seen the companies that are able to do that, but this proposal doesn’t get us anywhere closer to doing that,” said Colin Leyden, director of regulatory and legislative affairs for the Environmental Defense Fund.


Cyrus Reed, conservation director for the Texas Chapter of the Sierra Club, said the reforms still fall far short of setting limits to flaring.

“We continue to call for a statewide approach, like they’ve done in other states,” he said, citing New Mexico, where regulators are crafting rules to set flare-intensity targets and to limit the percentage of gas that could be flared.


“We would like to see the Railroad Commission … get to zero flaring by 2025,” he said.

Some operators, including Chevron, Occidental and Pioneer Natural Resources have moved to reduce routine flaring. Exxon Mobil says it has reduced flaring intensity in the Permian Basin to 1 percent.

The level of oil and gas production — and thus flaring volumes — has plunged across Texas in recent months as a result of the demand destruction caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

While the volume of gas produced in Texas declined by 13 percent from June 2019 to May 2020, the amount of gas that was flared dropped by 79 percent during the same time, the RRC said in August.


“Since the downturn, the rate of flaring has gone down with more than 99.5 percent of the gas produced in the month of May,” Christian said.

With an expected return to drilling later this year, flaring levels are likely to rise, as producers bring on more wells that aren’t connected to infrastructure and as the RRC approves flaring exemptions at those well


The Environmental Defense Fund in a July press release said its scientists, evaluating data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that Permian flaring is on the rebound, with June flaring volumes up 50 percent after a steep slide February through May.


The future of flaring regulation in Texas could hinge on the result of next month’s election. Chrysta Castañeda, the Democratic candidate for the seat held by Ryan Sitton, has made ending routine flaring the signature issue of her campaign. She supports eliminating routine flaring by 2025.

“I do believe it’s an achievable goal,” she said. “Flaring’s been against the law for 100 years, but it’s become commonplace in the last five to seven years, so much so that in 2019 we lit on fire enough natural gas to power the entire city of Houston.”

She said that in its efforts to reduce gas flaring, the Railroad Commission has focused too much on the construction of pipelines to carry the gas to far-off markets, and not enough on the development of alternative technologies that could allow the gas to be used closer to the drilling pad.

“It can be turned into electricity for micro-generation at the wellhead or close to it,” she said. “Another possible solution would be to re-inject the gas, which some operators are doing to promote enhanced recovery of the oil.”


Her Republican opponent, Jim Wright, said he agrees in principal with the goal of eliminating routine flaring, but disagrees with Castañeda’s strategy for achieving that goal.

“The cost of the grid system to get it gathered at a larger electric-producing facility is way more than putting the pipelines in,” said Wright, a rancher and owner of a business that recycles oilfield waste. “It’s real easy for politicians to stand up and say ‘simply turn it into electricity.’ If that was possible, we’d have done it years ago.”

Wright said he believe the solution for gas flaring will require members of the oil and gas industry to work together with regulators to design a plan for delivering to market the natural gas produced in association with increasing crude oil production.






Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.