Oil & Gas News

Texas Sets Oil & Gas Records During Heatwave

Texas, Oil, Gas, Heatwave

In the face of an impending summer predicted to be the hottest ever recorded, the Texas oil and gas sector is churning out hydrocarbons at unprecedented rates, according to recent findings by the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA).

The report, released on Monday, highlighted a new record with the state producing an astonishing 5.7 million barrels of crude oil daily in May, alongside a high of 32 billion cubic feet of natural gas sold. These figures coincide with a formidable heatwave sweeping across the United States, the most severe in decades, affecting over 135 million Americans. Experts from the conservative climate group C-Change Conversations link these escalating temperatures directly to climate change, exacerbated by the continuous burning of fossil fuels which intensifies the duration and severity of heatwaves.

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Additional data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) complements TXOGA’s findings, showing that in March alone, Texas generated 28.2 billion cubic feet of methane daily. However, only about 44 percent of this—equating to 12.5 billion cubic feet—was consumed within the state, with the bulk of the remainder being exported.

These exports have proven lucrative, with the industry raking in an estimated $56.8 billion in the first quarter of the year, per EIA reports. Proponents of natural gas have long championed it as a ‘cleaner’ alternative to coal due to its lesser carbon emissions, promoting it as a transitional fuel towards renewable energy sources. However, the environmental toll, particularly from methane—a component of natural gas far more potent in trapping heat than carbon dioxide—is causing alarm. Methane leaks from extraction and pipeline processes pose a significant threat to this clean image.

Mineral Rights, Sell Mineral RightsThe extent of methane leakage is hotly debated. Research published in the journal Science in 2020 indicated a leakage rate of 3.7 percent in Texas’s Permian Basin, the state’s most productive region. In stark contrast, a study from 2022 reported a nearly 10 percent leakage rate in a section of the Permian Basin extending into New Mexico. On the other end of the spectrum, industry advocates claim a significantly lower rate of 0.12 percent.

If the 3.7 percent leakage figure holds true, this would mean that in May, Texas released approximately 70,000 metric tons of methane daily into the atmosphere—the annual equivalent to the emissions from 420,000 automobiles. Over the entire month, this rate parallels the yearly emissions from 14 coal-fired power plants. Conversely, if New Mexico’s higher figures are accurate, the impact would be akin to running 37.8 coal plants for half a year. However, even the industry’s more conservative estimates suggest a substantial environmental impact, comparable to operating a coal plant for six months.

The debate continues as the repercussions of these emissions, even before combustion, pose critical questions about the role of fossil fuels in our future energy landscape. Meanwhile, burning crude oil contributes to approximately 78 percent as much carbon dioxide as burning coal, with transportation—a sector heavily reliant on oil—remaining a major driver of climate change.

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