Until mid-2020, a night-time fly-over of the Permian would have revealed the orange glow of natural gas flares all across the Basin. The drilling boom that raised oil production to previously unknown heights had overwhelmed takeaway capacity for everything, but especially for gas.

Since gas in the Permian is considered a by-product, many producers decided to flare it so they could generate immediate revenue from the oil, not worrying about lost gas revenue.

But with growing concerns about the amount of CO2 and other byproducts from just burning gas instead of delivering it for useful work, producers like BP PLC are committing to change.

The pandemic created a head start, reducing total flaring and the percentage of flaring vs sales into pipelines by large margins. Still, BP has recently pledged to do more, pledging $1.3 billion to create a massive network of pipes and gathering systems. Their goal is to eliminate flaring by 2025.


While sales of that gas will go a long way toward recouping the investment, the move’s impetus is the increased ESG pressure from investors. Reducing the industry’s carbon footprint by selling gas into the system instead of just flaring it would be a significant advancement.

Some have noted the difficulty of completely eliminating flaring. While oil can be immediately stored and transported to market by a truck upon a well’s completion, it typically takes days to connect the gas stream to the gathering system. Delaying the start of production while awaiting this connection would be very costly.


OTA Environmental sells and services vapor recovery units, flares, combustors, and instrument air. They provide environmental services such as LDAR, permitting, Phase 1 surveys, greenhouse gas calculations, and more.

KIMARK, an OTA subsidiary, specializes in smart flares, dual flares, burner management systems, and more.

To learn more about how OTA and KIMARK can help you meet your environmental goals, call 210-452-3422 or email [email protected]