Exxon to Eliminate All Routine Flaring in the Permian Basin by 2022

Wed, December 08, 2021

Exxon Mobil took another step in addressing emissions from its operations, as the company has now committed to eliminating all routine flaring in the Permian Basin by the end of 2022. Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, Darren Woods, made the announcement at the World Petroleum Congress in Houston,  among other oil and gas industry leaders.

Beyond reducing flaring intensity, the oil and gas supermajor said it will reduce flaring volumes across the Permian - home to over 40 percent of Exxon’s net U.S. oil and gas production - by more than 75 percent when compared to 2019 levels.  Exxon Mobil also set the goal to reduce upstream greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 40 to 50 percent by 2030.

These new commitments come as part of a wider greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-reduction plan from Exxon which aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from operated assets by 2030.

To achieve these goals, Exxon Mobil will spend $15 billion over the next six years to boost greenhouse gas emission-reduction projects. Exxon Mobil plans to electrify its operations while also investing in methane mitigation and detection technology and eliminating routine flaring in the Permian. Equipment upgrades, and employment of emissions offset technology are also part of the 2030 plan. Exxon Mobil’s switch to electric energy will also include other low-carbon power sources such as wind, solar, hydrogen, natural gas with carbon capture and storage as well as other emerging technologies. Its methane detection program will utilize satellite surveillance and a network of ground-based sensors for monitoring as well as aerial flyovers that identify leaks to encourage rapid repairs.

Exxon Mobil expects to close out 2021 by achieving greenhouse gas reduction goals originally set for 2025 – a 15 to 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas intensity from upstream operations when compared to 2016 levels. The early achievement of this commitment is an encouraging indicator for what might be the success of the company’s 2030 goals.

During his address at the World Petroleum Congress (WPC), Exxon CEO Darren Woods highlighted the need for the continued use of oil and natural gas to meet society’s needs even as companies pledge to meet net-zero pathways. Other American energy industry leaders at the WPC echoed this sentiment. A unified message theme emerged: natural gas is a foundational fuel for our energy future, and the energy industry is working tirelessly to mitigate and minimize GHG emissions by reducing flaring, embracing carbon capture and storage, and investing in hydrogen and biofuels.

Exxon Mobil’s efforts in the Permian are aligned with the broader efforts of Texas oil and gas producers, who have been leading the way in reducing methane intensity and flaring intensity over the past decade. This announcement is coming in the context of significant progress in the Permian among the entire industry, as a Texans for Natural Gas analysis recently demonstrated. 

Texas oil and gas producers have been leading the way in both energy production and emission reduction. Methane intensity has fallen nearly 70 percent between 2011 and 2020 in the Permian Basin, despite a 320 percent increase in production. In fact, flaring intensity in the Permian Basin is 28 percent lower than in all the United States.

These changes and advancements in greenhouse gas emission-reductions have made Texas oil and gas producers leaders in the industry. Texas has a track record for embracing innovation and mitigating energy emissions while continuing to meet growing global energy demand.