PEMEX Accused of Increasing Gas Flares Despite EPA Alliance
State-owned oil and gas company PEMEX has been accused of increasing how much gas it flares despite pledges to decrease its environmental damage, its partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and receiving US$2 billion in government funding to curb its methane emissions by 98%.
As part of its greenhouse gas mitigation plan, PEMEX allied with EPA, utilizing the agency’s resources in identifying the main sources of methane emissions and implementing reduction measures, reported Seneca ESG. This partnership aligns well with Mexico’s recent Global Methane Pledge.
According to a report published by International Energy Agency (IEA), Mexico signed the Global Methane Pledge in Nov. 2021 to reduce emissions by 2030. The pledge is an initiative led by the US and the EU but despite its promises, Mexico is moving in the opposite direction, as images published by Reuters showcase increased gas flares from the Papan Plant at the Ixachi field in Veracruz.
In January, the company burned 1.3Bcf of gas, an upsurge noticed by Mikhail Zhizhin, Researcher, the Earth Observation Group at the Payne Institute for Public Policy.
According to Seneca ESG, methane is mainly released during the production of oil and gas and is the second largest contributor to the formation of ground-level ozone, a hazardous air pollutant and a leading contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide. Moreover, the same report claims that Mexico is the ninth largest emitter of methane in the world.
Reuters reported that Mexico’s methane emissions are twice as high as the US, the world’s top oil producer.
Despite President López Obrador’s billions of backing, PEMEX seems to have abandoned its emissions reduction plan after finding it to be unprofitable, as burning the gas is cheaper than investing in the appropriate infrastructure. Moreover, as per government instructions, the NOC is under pressure to produce 2MMb/d, a 12% increase from the current level.
In the past, the CNH fined PEMEX an amount of US$1.98 million (MX$40 million) for violating its development plans at the Ixachi field, as reported by Reuters.