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Permian CO2 emissions intensity from flaring set to reach record low in 2H2020

The flaring-related CO2 emissions intensity of oil production in the US Permian basin is set to reach historically low levels in 2H2020, averaging at between 4–5 kg CO2/b of oil produced, according to Rystad Energy estimates.

The CO
2 equivalent emission intensity associated with wellhead flaring has already improved from the peak level of 11–12 kg CO2/b of oil produced in 4Q2018 and June 2019, to 8 kg CO2/b in March 2020.

The flaring-driven emission intensity will reach a low of 3.9 kg CO
2/b produced in November, ‘an unparalleled low in the modern history of Permian development’, according to Rystad Energy.

‘In 2Q2020 a material part of Permian oil production is being curtailed, resulting in an abnormal oil production decline that is supporting emission intensity at a level of 7–8 kg CO
2/b, despite continuous deceleration in flaring. However, assuming that most volumes are brought back in 2H2020, we anticipate a significant downward shift in flaring-driven emission intensity,’ says Artem Abramov, Rystad Energy’s Head of Shale Research.

As frac activity in the basin fell to record-low levels and 2H2020 is expected to be weak in terms of new production additions, Rystad forecasts a substantial reduction in the total wellhead flaring in the Permian from 500–600mn cf/d in the November 2019–March 2020 period to 220–280mn cf/d in 2H2020.

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