May 17, 2022
By Brian Loyd
The Rio Grande Guardian
Texas knows energy. The hard work and ingenuity of Texans has made us our nation’s leading producer of oil, natural gas, wind power, and electricity, and in most cases, number two isn’t close. Texans have driven the United States’ resurgent energy independence, and now we are increasingly providing Texas energy to our friends and partners around the globe.
As the world awakes to an energy shortage the likes of which we have not seen since the 1970s, the Lone Star State is poised for our next great energy boom, leading to more jobs and economic prosperity for our great state. As the Houston Chronicle recently reported, drilling permits in the Permian Basin are set to reach an all-time high.
But this next energy boom must be different from the last. With the expected surge in oil production, some are concerned about an increase in flaring, the process of burning natural gas produced as a byproduct of oil extraction. And rightly so. Flaring natural gas is unquestionably bad for the environment, but it also wastes the opportunity to lower prices, displace dirtier fuels, and supply our allies struggling to free themselves from Russian gas.
Fortunately, in addition to being our nation’s leader in oil and gas production, Texas is also a leader in reducing flaring, thanks to smart technologies being employed by the private sector.
According to the Railroad Commission of Texas, “the percentage of natural gas flared out of all the natural gas produced in Texas decreased 67% between June 2019 and November 2020. In the latest data provided by the RRC, the percentage of natural gas flared in Texas dropped to a new record low of 0.19% in November 2021.” Texas producers are now capturing 99% of natural gas produced, providing more fuel for our power plants, manufacturers and international allies, while simultaneously reducingCO2 emissions to a 30-year low.
From investing in Vapor Recovery Units (VRUs) to conducting flyovers with planes, satellites, drones and helicopters to monitor emissions, Texas energy leaders are stepping up to address climate concerns while keeping Texas a global leader in energy production.
But we can, and must, do even more. Texas needs to ensure that we have the regulatory and economic environment that incentivizes emission reductions, while also building the infrastructure needed to transport Texas energy to markets on the other side of the world. If we do so, we can fully unleash Texas energy production, lowering the price at the pump and electric meter while making Texas businesses the most competitive in the world. And by the end of this decade, Texas can help to fundamentally realign the energy paradigm in Europe, eliminating the threat of Russian energy dominance by providing our allies secure, reliable, and cleaner energy.
That’s why Sempra Infrastructure is proud to be a member of the Carbon Neutral Coalition (CNC) which is dedicated to bringing industry and government together to create a brighter economic and environmental future for our children. We are working with like-minded organizations to completely end routine flaring by 2030.
In the 2021 legislative session, CNC and others were successful in centralizing the regulatory authority over carbon capture and storage to the Railroad Commission of Texas. Next session, we hope to expand on that success by enabling technologies that allow energy companies to reduce their emissions, while maintaining their economic production. In 2023, we have an opportunity to work together to achieve these goals, make Texas energy production the cleanest on the planet, and keep Texas the energy capitol of our nation for decades to come.
Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Brian Lloyd, regional vice president of Sempra Infrastructure, and an advisory board member of the Carbon Neutral Coalition. The column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with the permission of the author. Lloyd can be reached by email via: [email protected].