Producers working Texas oilfields will be required to show why they need permission to flare or vent natural gas under updated rules approved by state regulators Wednesday.

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However, the three-member Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) stopped short of imposing more stringent requirements to limit emissions. 

For months the RRC has weighed how to balance exploration and production (E&P), particularly in the oilfields in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale, with constraints wrought by low prices and/or a lack of infrastructure. 

In June, regulators heard from E&P executives about how to curb flaring/venting, and an industry coalition provided recommendations on best practices. 

Flaring and venting gas already is limited under state rules, but the RRC routinely has allowed...