Insight from Washington: Fate of Permian gas flaring draws heat in Texas state race

S&P GLOBAL PLATTS | In February, after months of criticism, Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton tried to take the state’s flaring issue head on. “We want to reduce flaring,” Sitton told reporters at the time. He released a report on the path forward on flaring, or burning off associated natural gas during oil production, which has roughly tripled in two years in the Permian. Sitton’s report, however, offered few solutions and conceded he was unsure about how the commission, which regulates the state’s oil and gas industry, may address the issue. Instead of recommending changes to the commission’s flaring permitting process, which has long been criticized as lax, the report pointed to the relatively high intensity of flaring in other countries, notably Iraq and Iran, arguing that Texas should not be judged in a vacuum.

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