November 23, 2018

Methane Emissions in New Mexico Oil Basins Show Impressive Reductions

Environmentalists are fearful that the extraction of our natural resources comes with a corresponding deterioration in the health of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the earth we rely on for our very existence. Often their alerts are designed to prompt community reaction before pollution and its manifestations become irreversible. Arguably the biggest of these, attracting media attention, has been the intense focus on greenhouse gasses, its effects on the ozone layer, and the exacerbation of global warming. Against this backdrop, the oil and gas drilling industry in New Mexico has reduced methane gases even though energy production has increased. The Permian Basin recorded a reduction of 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) for 2017, while the number of oilrigs leaped to a record 104 (from 64 just a year ago). Now while this decrease in percentage was just a 1% difference from a total emission of 8 million metric tons in 2016, it is decidedly unexpected in light of the fact that production of oil barrels increased by close to 50% (or 900 million barrels a day) over the same time period. Indeed, the San Juan Basin last year reduced emissions by 727,000 metric tons (a drop of 13.7% off a base of 5.3 million metric tons) also alongside prolific production growth in both gas and oil. Thus, the New Mexico energy basins are confounding the critics as frontrunners in the fight against greenhouse gasses despite growing energy production. According to Ryan Flynn, executive director of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (and others in various watchdog associations) it’s the energy executives that are behind the emission reductions; the same ones credited with driving down fracking costs in the Permian shale belt - currently the world’s third-biggest energy producing entity ahead of entire countries like Iran and Iraq. Voices get louder every time the environmental debate hits the headlines and based on this new emissions data, these same voices are finally acknowledging that it’s possible to fight pollution alongside production growth. Technological advancements are truly allowing the oil and gas industry to achieve great things. This emergent new thinking is part and parcel of an innovation wave motivated in large part by the US becoming the world’s biggest energy producer and reaching net exporter status for the first time. The stakes are huge and so it is not surprising that oil executives are leading the way with focused efforts to foster environmentally safe energy exploration and drilling. Taking this further, there appears to be an unwritten mission to move forward responsibly - building on the state’s oil-generated surpluses while in parallel significantly reducing methane emissions for the greater good.


Chase Energy Services

Chase Energy Services is one of the largest privately held integrated oilfield services company in the US, providing end-to-end oilfield services through an experienced management team, innovative technologies and an unrelenting focus on safety. With more than 500 employees, the company serves customers across Southwest New Mexico and West Texas in frac and acidizing, well construction and completion, cementing solutions and well servicing. learn more