In a proactive approach to work with New Mexico regulators to reduce the amount of natural gas flared when wells are drilled, a statewide industry coalition is recommending regulators update the rules and work hand-in-hand with operators to improve gas capture in the oilfields.

The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) highlighted strategies for regulators and exploration and production (E&P) companies in the report Flaring in the Oilfield.

Operators are encouraged to increase communication with midstream partners, as well as shutting in production on a short-term basis to mitigate flaring and deploying advanced technology solutions.

“Our industry is committed to protecting our environment and capturing as much natural gas as possible,” said NMOGA Executive Director Ryan Flynn. “This commitment includes doing our part to identify and promote sound, science-based regulatory approaches to reduce emissions, as this report seeks to do.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham last year tasked agencies and regulators with identifying and crafting regulations to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations. The New Mexico Environment Department and New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department have initiated processes to develop rules to reduce emissions.

NMOGA recommended regulators update requirements by E&Ps to capture the natural gas before drilling begins. Also recommended is cutting by half to 30 days the allowable length for flaring events. In addition, the industry group suggested flaring data could be improved “through consistent and streamlined reporting protocols.”

The report is a companion to NMOGA’s Methane Mitigation Roadmap published last year, which offered recommendations for the four highest reported sources of methane emissions: fugitive emissions, storage tanks, pneumatic devices and liquids unloading operations.

“NMOGA agrees with the goal of reducing emissions,” Flynn said, “and we will continue to work with federal and state leaders to reduce our environmental footprint and combat climate change through pragmatic and cost-effective regulations that promote creativity and innovation.”