By Kevin Crowley and Rachel Adams-Heard
Most gas flared by volume
|Thousand cubic feet per day|
|XTO Energy (Exxon)||23,350|
But Sitton, a Republican whose seat is up for re-election, argues this is “incomplete” because it fails to acknowledge the amount of oil produced. (Typically gas is a byproduct of crude, so the more oil produced, the more gas also comes to the surface.) The commissioner, therefore, came up with two other measures:
The first is flaring intensity, which takes into account the amount of oil produced.
Highest flaring intensity
|Thousand cubic feet per barrel of oil|
|Continental Trend Resources||2.93|
And the second is flaring relative to a benchmark, which he set at 100 cubic feet per barrel of oil, around the state’s average.
Worst performers relative to benchmark
|Thousand cubic feet per day over benchmark|
Best performers relative to benchmark
|Thousand cubic feet per day under benchmark|
|Pioneer Natural Resources||28,295|
|Burlington Resources (Conoco)||11,805|
|COG Operating (Concho)||9,631|
However the regulator ultimately decides to measure flaring, the practice is increasingly coming into the spotlight.
“The primary message of yesterday’s report on natural gas flaring from the Texas Railroad Commission was that precipitous regulation should be avoided because the state’s shale operations already flare less than competing regions,” analysts led by Ben Salisbury at Washington-based Height Securities LLC said in a note Wednesday. Nevertheless, “we believe the effort marks acknowledgment that something should be done to reduce flaring and sets the bar for future evaluation and control.”