Energy Exchange

Permian methane measurements will aid New Mexico regulators

The Permian Basin has grown to become the most productive oil field in the country and one of the largest in the world, but too little is known about what this drilling boom means for methane waste and pollution. A new science effort led by Environmental Defense Fund with researchers from Penn State, the University of Wyoming and Scientific Aviation will help fill this knowledge gap and better inform state regulators in New Mexico who are moving forward on state methane rules.

This first-of-its-kind study will combine three different types of data collection, utilizing methane measurements from airplanes, a network of towers, and vehicles that take measurements downwind from well sites. All data collected will be shared publically to better inform local communities in southeast New Mexico and West Texas, as well as state regulators and the producers themselves, about the scope and scale of the methane problem in the Permian.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

New analysis shows golden opportunity for New Mexico to dramatically reduce oil and gas methane pollution

By Jon Goldstein and Hillary Hull

A new EDF analysis reveals that, over the next five years, New Mexico policymakers have the opportunity to eliminate up to 60% of methane emissions stemming from the oil and gas industry by implementing a suite of nationally leading controls.

Methane is a potent climate pollutant and the main ingredient in natural gas. Methane that escapes from oil and gas facilities is damaging to the climate and the state’s economy.

Our analysis finds that by implementing leading practices for methane capture, New Mexico can make a serious dent in its headline-making pollution problem, save more than $5 billion worth of natural gas and add more than $730 million to the state budget over the next decade. These measures will protect children’s health and improve education funding for the next generation of New Mexicans.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane / Comments are closed

New Mexico’s million-ton methane problem

By Jon Goldstein and David Lyon

You can’t see what you don’t look for. That axiom is at the heart of the problem with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) methane emission estimates. It is also why a new analysis based on empirical data and cutting-edge science finds a far larger methane emissions problem in New Mexico than previously thought.

EPA estimates emissions based on data reported by oil and gas operators and a set of assumptions about leak rates called “emission factors.” EDF and our research partners decided to take a closer look at emissions in New Mexico, conducting direct measurements at well facilities and applying the latest science to understand leaks in the supply chain.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

New Mexico legislation marks new focus on improved oil and gas oversight under Gov. Lujan Grisham

By Jon Goldstein and Nichole Saunders

When New Mexico legislators adjourned last Saturday, they had a long list of accomplishments for the first session under Gov. Lujan Grisham’s executive leadership. Near the top of that list is a bill that, once signed, will mark the first major legislative reform for the state’s oil and gas industry in over a decade.

House Bill 546 has significant implications for how the state oversees its large and growing oil and gas industry. This includes restoring crucial powers to the state’s main oil and gas regulator and enabling it to protect the state’s air and water resources from oil and gas pollution, as well as clarifying how New Mexico manages the massive volume of oilfield wastewater, or “produced water,” generated by operators. These reforms, championed by Sen. Richard Martinez, Rep. Nathan Small and Rep. Matthew McQueen will begin to deliver oil and gas policy that New Mexicans can be proud of.

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Also posted in Natural Gas, produced water, produced water / Tagged , | Comments are closed

Report reveals heavy burden of energy waste, methane emissions on Navajo communities

By Matt Miccioli, EDF Stanford Schneider Fellow

A recent study of oil and gas methane emissions on the Navajo Nation reveals companies operating on tribal lands pollute 65 percent more than the national average, wasting millions in tribal resources every year and underscoring the opportunity for tribal leaders to reduce emissions.

The analysis, conducted by Environmental Defense Fund and released in conjunction with Grand Canyon Trust, Dinè CARE and Native American Voters Alliance, quantifies the volume of natural gas burned off, vented or leaked from oil and gas production on Navajo lands. It found that companies are wasting about 5.2 percent of their natural gas, generating about 13,000 tons of methane pollution.

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Also posted in Air Quality, General, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Tagged , , | Comments are closed

No time to waste: What lies ahead in New Mexico on methane policy?

The Cabinet Room was buzzing with (clean) energy on Tuesday as New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was joined by her Energy Minerals and Natural Resources (EMNRD) Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst and Environment Secretary Jim Kenney to sign one of the strongest climate executive orders in the nation.

Crucially, the order also directs New Mexico’s state agencies to move expeditiously and develop comprehensive, statewide methane regulations to cut energy wasted from the oil and gas industry and improve air quality.

Now the question becomes, “what next?”

Governor Lujan Grisham made her wishes for a speedy methane rule development clear in the executive order, directing her EMNRD and Environment Department to enact rules “as soon as practicable.”
And she set a high bar for the strength and inclusiveness of the methane rules when she said that, “Our goal is to eclipse states that are successfully doing this work.”

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane / Tagged , , | Comments are closed