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. 

Co-authors Ethan Wood and Rusty Tucker

We read the comments and listened in on portions of the historic April 14 hearing on the proposal that the Commission order market demand prorationing of Texas oil and gas production. Of the 120+ written comments, 51 supported, 59 opposed, 12 were neutral, and several were not clear.

Here is our summary of the comments.* To read them for yourself, go to:  https://www.rrc.state.tx.us/general-counsel/open-meetings/comments-received-re-the-rrcs-april-14-2020-open-meeting/


Continue Reading Who Said What at the Railroad Commission Market Demand Prorationing Hearing?

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

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

Just because anthropogenic climate change is a legitimate concern doesn’t mean that the most radical pronouncements from the idealogues aren’t fair game for criticism.

Not an idealogue, Bjorn  Lomborg, thinks we should worry about it  … a little bit. That caution has earned him derision as a skeptic or worse, a denier merely because he believes the “threat” is overstated and the proposed cures are needless and far more expensive than the disease.

Now for the vote-trolling presidential aspirants.

How many trillions for the Green Nude Eel?

Uncle Joe Biden opens with an unmuscular $1.7 Trillion and, in honor of his past, is accused of stealing ideas from the GND.  He sweetens the pot by refusing to take money from fossil fuel interests.
Continue Reading What’s the Bidding on the Green New Deal?