Gas flaring, especially in the Permian and the Eagle Ford, is coming in hot these days at the Texas Railroad Commission. Presented here are viewpoints from several stakeholders in the discussion. My comments are summaries. For a fuller understanding please read the reports for yourself.

The players are in general agreement on several points:

  • There needs to be an end to routine gas flaring.
  • Texas flares a lot of gas: About as much annually as all of its residential users combined, or maybe as much as the seven largest cities, or maybe Houston. It depends on who’s talking. Values vary but in the Permian it ranges from $450 Million to $750 Million.
  • Progress is being made, plenty for some, not enough for others.

The Texas Methane and Flaring Coalition

These seven trade associations and 40 operators are members of the Railroad Commission’s Blue Ribbon Task Force for Oil Economic Recovery. Their positon, among others:

  • More detailed data submissions from operators will result in more effective operational and regulatory decisions that will reduce flaring.
  • A proposed flaring matrix (see the report) identifies situations where flaring is necessary and makes recommendations for the application of Rule 32 that will result in overall flaring reductions because of the shortened time frame for administrative approvals.
  • Methane emissions from oil and gas systems are down 23 percent since 1990.
  • Texas flaring intensity is well below that of comparable countries according to the World Bank.


Continue Reading How Will the Texas Railroad Commission Address Gas Flaring?

Last week’s discussion of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury’s report on alleged failures in enforcement of hydraulic fracturing is worthy of a follow-up. Here, combined into one document, is the Grand Jury’s report, the Department of Environmental Protection’s response (beginning on page 112) and the Department of Health’s response (beginning on page 165).

The Grand Jury recommends

Expand no drill zones, stop the “chemical cover-up”, regulate all pipelines, add up the air pollution sources, transport toxic waste more safely, deliver a real public health response, end the “revolving door”, and use the criminal laws.

The DEP responds

The report is unreliable, legally and factually inaccurate, not informed by applicable law or facts, relies on undocumented assertions, “does the public a disservice”, and the Attorney General failed to give the Grand Jurors accurate information.  This, from a Democratic governor.

The former Secretary defends the department

 A response from Michael Krancer, Secretary of the DEP from 2011 until 2013, says:


Continue Reading The Fracking Fracas, Part 2

There is “new news” and there is the same-old-same-old. Today is mostly the latter but it seems more “out there” than in it used to be.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General convened a grand jury that slammed regulatory failures in Pennsylvania gas drilling and recommended setbacks that would effectively destroy the ability to develop shale resources. 

If you follow the Marcellus shale there are political developments you should know about. Daniel Markind, a partner in the Philadelphia office of Flaster Greenberg PC, gave me permission to share this recent blog post.

Devastated By Coronavirus, New York’s Pipeline Politics Ensure A Tougher Second Round

By: This article originally ran on Forbes.com on May 20, 2020. All rights reserved.

Approximately 30% of all confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States have been reported in the New York City metropolitan area, which is located mainly in southeastern New York state and northeastern New Jersey. Last weekend, the administrations of the Governors of both states, Andrew Cuomo of New York and Phil Murphy of New Jersey, rejected once again the key permits for the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE), a natural gas pipeline that would have ensured sufficient natural gas supply to much of New York City and its environs. These decisions probably mean the death of NESE.

Click here to read the article in its entirety on Forbes.com.
Continue Reading Marcellus Pipeline Permits Rejected by New York and New Jersey

Is the world hurtling irreversibly toward incinerating, extinction-causing, fossil-fuel induced destruction while we’re doing nothing about it? Maybe not, if you consider overlooked and ignored sources of information.

We You will always have Paris

Despite bailing out of the Paris Climate Accord, the United States led the world in reducing CO2 emissions in 2019

Reports on the inevitable death of the fossil fuel industry are overdone (assuming it isn’t kidnapped in the middle of the night by the next administration and murdered by litigation, regulation and executive fiat). One reason is the advance of technology to remove CO2 and methane from oil and gas activities. Some examples:

Researchers at MIT have devised a system to remove CO2 from the atmosphere efficiently. The process, called “Fordaic electro-swing reactive adsorption for CO2 capture”, should help curtail greenhouse gas emissions.
Continue Reading Reducing Methane and CO2 from Oil and Gas Operations

Let’s start with a quiz:

Which of these predictions is most likely to come true:

  1. Senator Sanders’ “bold” climate action plan will gain traction and become the law of the land.
  2. Vegan options will be available at the next landman’s dinner meeting.
  3. As 2020 approaches President Trump will learn his lesson. No more tweets.
  4. After all these years, your cat will finally respect you.
  5. LSU will beat Texas on the gridiron.


Continue Reading Another Bid is in on the Green New Deal