Exco Operating Co. LP has landed another exemption to the state’s anti-flaring rule, despite objections from a midstream provider with infrastructure nearby, in a vote that again left the chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) on the opposite side of his counterparts.
In a 2-1 vote on Oct. 22, the RRC granted the Dallas-headquartered company’s request to flare casinghead gas from a well on the Winterbotham ZAV Lease in the Eagle Ford Shale for two years. Although a gas gathering system operated by The Williams Co. is nearby and has serviced other wells on the lease, Exco said connecting to the system would be uneconomic, Robert Musick, technical examiner for the RRC’s hearings division, told commissioners.
The decision was made as flaring continues to capture attention amid a global shift toward cleaner forms of energy and heightened focus on environmental, social and governance criteria used by socially alert investors. It also comes as E&Ps are focusing on returns, eyeing higher profit potential from oil as the natural gas glut and low prices continue to hit producers.