Last month, ConocoPhillips made a presentation to the New Mexico Indian Affairs Committee arguing that taking action to limit the wasteful practice of venting or flaring excess natural gas “would come at significant cost” and “put billions of dollars at risk.” And they’re not referring to the tax dollars that are wasted when they burn natural gas into the air.
It’s a rare and candid look into the oil and gas industry’s motivations for opposing steps to combat natural gas waste on public lands. Despite industry groups’ public claims that they are as interested as anyone else in cracking down on natural gas waste, they are admitting privately that they would rather vent and flare natural gas into the atmosphere than invest a small amount to put our domestic energy resources to good use.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s 4 reasons why the real costs of natural gas waste are borne by taxpayers and Western communities, not big oil companies:
Altogether, capturing the gas that is leaked, vented or flared from those existing sources means more money for ConocoPhillips, and in turn more royalties for New Mexico communities that rely on oil and gas dollars to support local, county, and state budgets. Not taking action means New Mexico pays the price, while Conoco boosts their bottom line.
The disclosures are particularly timely because the American Petroleum Institute (API), the oil industry’s biggest lobbying group, just announced that the chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips will be its new Board of Directors Chair. That position elevation means that ConocoPhillips now has even more influence than it previously had—we can only hope that they use it more responsibly in the future.