In the most productive U.S. shale region, one of the largest oil producers has made the decision to discontinue routine gas flaring in the Permian and plans to advocate for all other shale well operators to follow suit.
Exxon officials said they will press on stricter flaring laws in an interview with Reuters in an effort to get the practise phased out.
“It levels the playing field,” the chief environmental scientist of the supermajor, Matt Kolesar, told Reuters.
“We need strong regulations so it doesn’t matter who owns the facility.”
Flaring, which releases considerable volumes of methane, a more potent but shorter-lived greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, has gained attention in recent years due to environmental concerns.
Additionally, limiting flaring results in an operator producing more natural gas, which is an advantage worth noting given the current gas market.
Exxon believes that putting a stop to flaring is a worthwhile objective to pursue—more worthwhile than requiring oil firms to pay for the emissions produced by using their goods, or so-called Scope 3 emissions.
According to Kolesar, lowering methane emissions is by far the most affordable way to lower all emissions in the sector.
The supermajor intends to do this by setting up satellites to monitor emissions in the Permian.
It has also made a small investment in the best strategy to reduce methane emissions, which is to send the gas from oil extraction facilities in the Permian to a pipeline.
By 2027, Exxon intends to spend about $17 billion decreasing its emissions.
The funds will be used, among other things, to stop flaring and for carbon capture and storage.
This type of proposal is unpopular with environmentalists because it does not call for a decrease in oil and gas production.
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