Texas Railroad Commissioners Take Major Step in Addressing Oil and Gas Flaring EmissionsPress Release
AUSTIN, TX – Texas Railroad Commissioners approved draft changes to the Application for an Exception to Statewide Rule 32 in a vote on Tuesday which will play a vital role in the Commission's ongoing efforts at reducing the amount of flaring throughout the oil and gas industry in the state.
At Tuesday’s Conference, Railroad Commission staff also discussed a recently identified positive trend that has been occurring within the state's typical rate of flaring.
While the amount of gas produced in Texas has declined by approximately 13 percent from June 2019 through May of 2020, the portion of produced gas that was flared dropped drastically by nearly 79% during the same recorded time period as RCT staff continues to analyze flaring trends in the upcoming months.
There were several proposed modifications to the Statewide Rule 32 application, which includes, but is not limited to the following adjustments:
- The period of time for which an operator may obtain an administrative exception to flare gas will be reduced in many cases. For certain exceptions, the duration may be reduced by 50% to 80%.
- Provide incentives for operators to use technologies to reduce the amount of gas flared.
- Operators must provide more specific information to justify the need to flare or vent gas in accordance with Commission rules.
- Flares would be related to specific production properties to facilitate compliance with reported production.
In a statement Tuesday RCT Chairman Wayne Christian said, “Today, we took an important first step in ensuring we have the data necessary to get an accurate view of the scope of flaring in Texas."
“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 sold and beneficially used to generate electricity, cook dinner, or make hundreds of consumer products. Now is the opportune time to implement meaningful recommendations to reduce flaring before oil and gas production climbs back to previous highs.”
RCT Commissioner Christi Craddick added, “I sincerely appreciate the hard work that has gone into making these significant changes and look forward to receiving feedback during the public comment period, I am pleased with the progress we are making toward significant flaring reductions in Texas."
“Flaring is a byproduct of production, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an issue that’s worth examining more closely,” said RCT Commissioner Ryan Sitton. “That’s why I undertook the first systematic study of flaring in Texas and how our volumes compare with other major energy producers. I’m glad the Railroad Commission of Texas is stepping up and continuing to lead.”
The proposed changes include the RRC staff’s analysis of a Blue Ribbon Task Force report on the best practices in order to reduce flaring statewide.
These draft changes are open for a 30-day comment period and can be found on the RRC website at: https://rrc.texas.gov/about-us/resource-center/forms/proposed-form-changes/.
Commissioners will need to approve and submit a final version of the form at a future meeting before any changes will go into effect.
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