Proposed Venting and Flaring Rules in Louisiana Will Reduce Waste & Create Jobs

In 2019 alone, Louisiana lost nearly $16 million worth of methane (the primary component of natural gas) due to venting and flaring at oil and gas well sites. When this energy resource is wasted, governments and royalty owners lose revenue. In addition to these economic costs, there are also climate and environmental consequences because methane is a potent greenhouse gas and flaring creates local air pollution.

The good news is that we have the technology and know-how to address this problem and cut methane waste from oil and gas operations while at the same time creating jobs and increasing local, state, and federal tax revenues. And fortunately, Governor John Bel Edwards’ administration has recognized the opportunities presented by reducing methane waste, and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) has proposed rules to limit these wasteful practices.

LDNR’s proposed rules would require better gas management planning requirements for new wells, extend the prohibition on venting to horizontally drilled wells, add a prohibition on routine flaring for certain wells, reform and modernize the existing economic hardship exception, and require additional reporting requirements for vented and flared gas.

The private sector has recognized the growing market providing answers to address venting and flaring. There are numerous technology companies that provide on-site solutions that can capture the methane and use it for a productive purpose, like supplementary power supply and useful products like methanol. The development of these technologies means that producers in Louisiana will have flexibility in identifying low-cost, highly efficient products for their compliance strategy that best fits their business model. Companies in the methane mitigation industry, which already boasts 32 facilities across the state of Louisiana, create sustainable, good-paying jobs, thereby supporting the state’s economy.

These rules could be a win for communities, a win for local economies, and even for oil and gas producers who can bring more natural gas to market and increase revenue by reducing methane waste. We have an opportunity to stop wasting natural resources while improving our air and creating good-paying jobs. Let’s not waste it.