As the annual Four Corners Oil & Gas conference kicks off, let’s remember our money that’s being left on the table

The 13th Annual Four corners Oil and Gas Conference kicks off this week in Farmington, New Mexico. While many presentations, including from FLIR Systems, Inc., will focus on new technologies and best practices to help bring the oil and gas industry into the twenty-first century, there will surely be other, more-entrenched interests focused on maintaining the status quo.

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is invisible and leaks can only be detected by infrared cameras.

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is invisible and leaks cannot be seen by the naked eye, but can be detected by infrared cameras.

A recent Western Values Project analysis found that since 2010, New Mexico has lost out on roughly $50 million in federal royalty revenues as a result of gas venting and flaring on federal lands- money that would otherwise go to New Mexico’s public schools. Another recent study by the Conservation Economics Institute found that by applying leak detection and repair technologies in the San Juan Basin alone, New Mexico would gain $1 to $6 million every year in additional revenue.

And while the technology already exists to capture this wasted gas and the Bureau of Land Management has proposed a rule to reduce venting, flaring and require leak detection and repair on federal lands, some industry lobbyists are fighting tooth and nail to avoid new gas capture requirements. They claim a new rule would cost industry jobs and make low-producing wells unprofitable, leading to less natural gas being produced, not more.

Here are a few key reasons why they’re wrong:

Not only are we capable and have the technology to reduce natural gas waste from venting, flaring, and equipment leaks, a gas capture rule would create new jobs, add additional revenue, and is supported by a vast majority of Westerners. It’s time to change the way we do business on public lands and modernize the oil and gas industry for the benefit of taxpayers, state governments, and New Mexico’s public schools.

Join the effort to strengthen the American West.