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?

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?

In Town of Flower Mound v. Eagle Ridge Operating LLC, an operator’s injunction against enforcement of a local ordinance was dissolved. EagleRidge operates gas wells in the Flower Mound. A Town ordinance prohibits work on gas wells (other than drilling) at times other than between 7 a.m. and 7 a.m. Monday through Friday and certain times on Saturday.

EagleRidge tried to avoid enforcement of the ordinance by:
Continue Reading Gas Well Operator’s Injunction Against Texas Town is Dissolved

Referred to as the Setback Requirement for Oil and Gas Development, here is what Colorado voters will be asked to consider on November 6:

Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning a statewide minimum distance requirement for new oil and gas development, and, in connection therewith, changing existing distance requirements to require that any new oil and gas development be located at least 2,500 feet from any occupied structure in any area designated for additional protection and authorizing a state or a local government to increase the minimum distance requirement?

“Any area designated for additional protection” has been described as “sensitive areas”, such as “streams, intermittent streams, canals, and open spaces”. Current setbacks are 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from schools.
Continue Reading Colorado Proposition 112: What’s the Fuss About?

In his Hardcore History podcasts, Dan Carlin presents himself, not as a historian, but as a journalist who likes history. Herein is my attempt to present yours truly, not as an environmental lawyer, but as a trial lawyer with an interest in energy policy. Therefore, here are differing assessments of the Trump EPA’s rollback of the Obama EPA’s methane regulations.

Executive summary 

Producers: “Regs bad, industry good; we’re saving the planet.”

Enviros: “Regs good, industry bad; you’re poisoning the planet.”

Read more and decide for yourself
Continue Reading What They’re Saying About the EPA’s Methane Rule

Co-author Paul Yale

Issues surrounding the legality of allocation wells in Texas have been percolating for some time, and lately we’ve heard of potential litigation. So, what’s the fuss about? The results in Klotzman (a Texas Railroad Commission dispute) and Spartan et al v. EOG (a district court case) didn’t resolve the legal questions. Both settled before a ruling. Browning Oil Company v. Luecke provided theoretical underpinnings but didn’t go far enough.

Why does the controversy exist?
Continue Reading Is the Allocation Well Debate About to Boil Over?