Report reveals pollution transparency problems for majority of New Mexico’s energy companies

Much is known about the methane pollution coming from New Mexico’s oil and gas industry. Scientists studying methane emissions have found the nation’s most concentrated cloud of methane shrouding the state’s San Juan Basin. And since methane is the primary components of natural gas, we know the state’s operators are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars per year because of these leaks.

We know much less, however, from New Mexico’s oil and gas companies themselves.

A new report reveals that far too few oil and gas producers are disclosing information about their methane waste problem.

More than 40% of oil and gas companies analyzed in a new EDF analysis fail to report even basic information on methane management. The quality and quantity of methane risk management reporting has increased across industry, with nearly 60% of the companies analyzed showing progress. But the overall improvement on disclosure has not been enough.

Fortunately, two New Mexico oil and gas producers – Cimarex and WPX — are among the seven companies newly making their gas leak data public.  It is time other operators in the state to step up and follow the good example of Cimarex and WPX.

Industry’s methane leaks are negatively impacting New Mexico’s economy. The state’s operators waste up to $244 million of natural gas a year from leaks and inefficient practices.

The International Energy Agency has made it clear that the future of the gas industry rides on how companies are managing methane risk – and yet the vast majority of New Mexico’s companies are providing no assurance to the public or to investors that they are adequately managing, or disclosing information on the wasteful, harmful pollution emitted from their facilities.

Only a tiny handful of the 400+ oil and gas companies in New Mexico report information on methane waste and pollution. This reporting gap indicates a huge lag in accountability. Given the state’s poor regulatory framework on the issue of methane pollution, many New Mexico operators are getting a free pass.

…industry’s overall reporting lag further underscores the need for investors to demand more accountability and for New Mexico leaders to step up industry oversight.

Meanwhile, new data from the Environmental Protection Agency estimates national oil and gas methane emissions have remained far too high.

The small handful of New Mexico producers who are stepping up to report their methane emissions deserve praise. But the industry’s overall reporting lag further underscores the need for investors to demand more accountability and for New Mexico leaders to step up industry oversight.

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