Getting a permit to burn excess natural gas at Texas oil wells is getting a little bit harder.
Texas Railroad Commissioners limited an oil driller to flaring gas for just one year as opposed to the two years it sought at a meeting Tuesday. The commission approved 31 other requests from oil and gas companies, including five more to flare gas, without any changes.
Commissioner Jim Wright said a well not having pipeline service is no longer a good enough reason to flare, the industry practice of burning off natural gas produced as a byproduct of drilling for oil. The comments mark a shift in thinking at the agency, which has been widely criticized for rubber stamping thousands of flaring permits without requiring oil companies to come up with a plan to curb the practice.
Calling flaring an “unnecessary waste of our natural resources,” Wright said there are too many alternatives, such as Bitcoin mining, electric power generation and graphene production, that can be set up at remote sites to use the excess fuel.
The flaring request that irked Wright was made last year by Houston-based Oasis Petroleum for one its Permian Basin oil leases where the company did not have pipeline service. Oasis later sold all of its Permian Basin assets in a series of deals worth $481 million. Neither Oasis nor the new operator, which is listed on public records as Percussion Petroleum, could immediately be reached for comment.
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