Texas energy firms, trade groups partner to tackle flaring, methane emissions

(Reuters) - Several oil and gas companies and trade associations in Texas, the biggest oil producing state in the United States, formed a coalition on Tuesday to develop and recommend solutions to minimize flaring and methane emissions.

The new group, the Texas Methane and Flaring Coalition, will also use data and other evidence to communicate why and when flaring is necessary.

Flaring is the deliberate burning of unwanted polluting gas during oil production and is an acute problem in Texas, home to most of the Permian Basin, the biggest U.S. shale field.

Oil drillers tend to flare or vent gas when they lack pipelines to move it to market or when prices are too low to make transportation feasible.

Texas regularly allows companies to burn or vent gas above regulations. It has issued more than 35,000 flaring permits since 2013 and has not denied any, according to the state commission.

Flaring worsens climate change by releasing carbon dioxide, while venting discharges unburned methane, which is many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.