Leading the Charge: How the Permian Basin Is Setting Global Standards in Emission Reductions

Mon, October 16, 2023

Texas oil and gas producers understand the importance of reducing flaring and methane emissions, implementing responsible operation practices across their business for several years. Their concerted and continuous efforts are evident in the successful reduction of flaring and methane intensity in the Permian Basin, state of Texas and United States as a whole. Between 2011 and 2021, methane intensity in the Permian Basin fell more than 76%, even as production increased over 345%, leading the Permian to be known not only as a prolific oil and natural gas basin, but the center of innovation and efficiency in energy production.

Yet, despite obvious successes in reducing emissions and flaring, a report attempted to disregard the constant work and improvements made by oil and gas producers in the Permian. Flaring is often used as a safety mechanism, allowing operators to release excess pressure to reduce the risk of fires or other incidents. This practice allows producers to reliably operate and is used only in the most necessary circumstance. After all, flaring is an economic loss for companies as natural gas is valuable.

The Lone Star State has long been recognized for responsible energy production, achieving lower flaring intensity rates in 2021 than the United States as a whole. Despite the vast number of challenges- supply chain disruptions, extreme market volatility, geopolitical uncertainty, and a global pandemic- natural gas producers and operators remained committed to meeting increased global energy demand while minimizing their environmental footprint. Between 2020 and 2021, the Permian Basin decreased its flaring intensity by 34%, with Texas reducing its intensity 60% in that same time frame. The vast majority of Texas oil and gas producers continue to reduce their emissions through 2023, setting an example for responsible production, all while meeting record breaking demand, and aiding allies in Europe amid supply shortages.

TNG recognizes that responsible energy extraction and environmental stewardship aren't mutually exclusive—they're mutually beneficial. The progress made in the Permian Basin is a testament to this belief. The Permian leads the world in minimizing flaring intensity, significantly contributing to the United States’ unparalleled progress in emission reduction compared to other top producing countries, with a notable 49.3% decrease in flared volumes from 2019 to 2021. In addition, the Permian maintained a flaring intensity in 2021 substantially lower than other major producers like Venezuela and Russia, which exhibited 2,621% and 339% higher intensities, respectively.

Energy producers in Texas are continuing their mission of environmental stewardship through several initiatives, including the Texas Methane & Flaring Coalition, the Oil & Gas Methane Partnership 2.0, the  Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), the Environmental Partnership, and the World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring pledge. These alliances are comprised of organizations committed to eliminating routine flaring by 2030 by identifying and advocating for best practices.

The strides taken in the Permian Basin demonstrate not only innovation and environmental stewardship, but global leadership, with producers in the Lone Star state able to meet skyrocketing demand and emission reduction goals. As the Permian continues to set the bar higher, it paves the way for worldwide adoption of sustainable methods, proving that industrial progress and ecological care can, indeed, coexist and thrive.