When the flames go out, the Permian’s methane problem worsens – Midland Reporter Telegram, Sunday, May 03, 2020

Midland Reporter Telegram, Sunday, May 03, 2020; Section: Weather, Page: 7A
By Rachel Adams-Heard and Akshat Rathi Bloomberg
The orange flames that dot the Permian Basin have sparked criticism from investment bankers and shale pioneers who say the energy industry is wasting a valuable resource by burning off natural gas. Yet the flares are proving a bigger contributor to climate change if they are unlit.
The Environmental Defense Fund surveyed more than 300 sites in the Permian and found that roughly 1 in 10 flares was unlit or malfunctioning. That means more gas is being released straight into the atmosphere, contributing a lot more to the basin’s methane emissions than previously thought.
The findings are part of EDF’s PermianMAP initiative, launched last year as a way to quantify the methane emissions from America’s biggest oil field, which until recently was considered a black box.
The environmental group used satellite images to identify areas where flaring is prevalent, and then flew helicopters with infrared cameras to detect which sites — called flare stacks — were releasing methane. Two surveys have been conducted, one in February and another in late March, and EDF plans a third in the near future.
Flaring is meant to get rid of fuel that companies can’t or don’t put into pipelines by burning
Midland Reporter Telegram, Sunday, August 30, 2020; Section: Viewpoints, Page: 1C