Natural gas flaring in the Permian Basin reached an all-time high in 2019’s first quarter due to the lack of pipelines, according to data from Rystad Energy.
The volume of gas flared or vented in the Permian and North Dakota’s portion of the Bakken, combined, exceeds the annual gas demands of such countries as Israel, Colombia and Romania, Kallanish Energy understands.
Producers burned or vented 661 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d) in the Permian of West Texas/southeastern New Mexico, Rystad reported Tuesday.
A lack of pipelines and pipeline outages drove the first quarter numbers to a new record. “It’s very persistent issue with infrastructure,” said Artem Abramov, head of shale research at Rystad.
Gas flaring and venting in the U.S. is currently concentrated within two basins: the Permian and North Dakota’s Bakken. First-quarter levels in the Bakken were roughly 500 Mmcf/d, which brings the collective volumes of flared and vented gas from the two basins up to roughly 1.15 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d).
Converting to the metric system for comparative purposes, the above amount represents 12 billion cubic meters of wasted gas annually, which exceeds the yearly gas demand of nations such as Israel, Azerbaijan and Romania.
The largest operators in the Permian flared on average 5.1% of operated gross gas production in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, Rystad found.
Gross gas production in the Permian surpassed 13 Bcf/d in December 2018, and is currently approaching 14 Bcf/d.
“While oil production in the Permian dipped at the beginning of the year, gas production in the basin has remained healthy, with steadily increasing production as the driving force behind increased venting and flaring,” Abramov said.
The Permian is expected to flare more than 650 Mmcf/d until the second half of the year, when the Gulf Coast Express pipeline comes online, Abramov said.
Kinder Morgan’s Gulf Coast Express is designed to transport up to 2 Bcf/d of natural gas and is scheduled begin operations in October.
“It will be a temporary solution,” said Abramov. “We don’t have any other major project coming online until late in 2020.”
This post appeared first on Kallanish Energy News.