March 12 (Reuters) - Some oil companies are “flaring” far more natural gas from oil production in the Texas section of the Permian Basin than they are across the state border in New Mexico, data shows.
Exxon Mobil wasted nearly 17% of the gas it produced in Loving County, Texas last year, but in Eddy Country, New Mexico, it burned 7%, data from consultancy Rystad Energy shows.
The total for the Permian last year hit 293.2 billion cubic feet, enough gas to provide electricity to more than 7 million U.S. homes for a year. Across the entire Permian, 83.5% of the gas flared is on the Texas side, Rystad calculates.
And while New Mexico has become the third largest shale oil producer behind Texas and North Dakota, its companies last year burned on average 2.3% of their gas output, compared with 3.8% in the adjacent Texas counties.
Further east in the heart of the Texas oil patch, flaring rates near Midland are even higher, averaging 4.6% among the largest operators between January and November 2019.
A Reuters analysis of the data shows the following:
Apache Corp flared less than 1% of its gas in three counties, but in one Texas county last year it burned 24% of the gas it produced, the data shows.
While Apache has a practice of not bring wells online without having pipeline transportation in place, “third-party midstream operational issues” have led to increased flaring in that one county since June, a company spokeswoman said.
BTA Oil Producers burned six times as much gas in Texas as in New Mexico - its flaring rate was 12% in Culberson County, Texas but 1.8% in Lea County, New Mexico.
BTA did not reply to a request for comment.
In Texas’ Loving County, Exxon Mobil burns 17% compared to 6.8% over the line in Eddy County, New Mexico. Exxon Mobil’s flaring averaged 6.6% across both sides of the Permian, the Rystad Energy data shows.
U.S. shale producer Matador Resources flared 6.8% of the gas it produced in Loving County, Texas but just 1.7% across the state line in Eddy County, New Mexico, although they are in the same field and drilled using the same techniques.
Matador did not reply to a request for comment.
Royal Dutch Shell, which only works in the Texas Permian, burned off just 1.5% of its gas there.
Reporting by Jennifer Hiller; Editing by Alexander Smith