The recently completed session of the Texas Legislature several bills were filed addressing flaring from oil and gas wells — none of which passed. The number and variety of bills does, however, indicate the increased level of interest and concern about unwarranted flaring of natural gas.
HB 1377: Revises the Tax Code to eliminate the exemption from severance tax for gas “produced from oil wells with oil and lawfully vented or flared.
SB 1293 and HB 1494: Revises the Tax Code to impose a severance tax of 25% on flared gas.
HB 897: Requires the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to produce a report on ways leaks and flaring of gas from oil and gas facilities could be reduced.
HB 1913: Requires an operator to submit a “gas capture plan” with any application for a well permit which would identify available gas gathering systems in the well’s vicinity, their capacity for taking gas from the well, and how the well will be connected to the system; or, if no options are available for sale of the gas, other options for the “beneficial use” of the gas.
HB 896: Requires operators of oil and gas facilities to establish a quarterly inspection and maintenance program for detection and repair of leaks; prohibits venting and limits use of flaring; limits emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage tanks to no more than one ton per year; limits emissions of nitrogen oxides from compressors; and requires the TCEQ to adopt rules to implement these requirements.
HB 3567: Requires the Railroad Commission to conduct a study to assess the feasibility of using flared natural gas for on-site generation of electricity.
HB 1975: Requires the Railroad Commission to publish monthly on its website the names of operators who report the highest 20 levels of flaring and their volumes and “flaring intensity” — the amount of gas flared per barrel of oil produced.
HB 1976: Requires the Railroad Commission to audit data reported by operators on gas flaring and compare that data to satellite data on flaring collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
HB 1452: Requires the Railroad Commission to adopt rules establishing a policy to eliminate routine flaring by December 31, 2025.
SB 388 and HB 521: Requires the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System to adopt a formal policy goal to eliminate routine methane flaring on university lands by 2025.