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Mexico’s Oil Major Has A Flaring Problem

Mexico’s state-controlled oil and gas giant Pemex has continued gas flaring at a massive field despite a pledge to stop doing so by mid-January, according to satellite data researchers have analyzed exclusively for Reuters.

In November, Pemex’s chief executive Octavio Romero said that the company would stop gas flaring at the Ixachi field by January 15, 2023, after it was fined for breaching its emission-control plan. 

Pemex has a poor environmental record and has regularly failed to reduce flaring as promised due to a lack of infrastructure to process all the natural gas it is extracting. Natural gas flaring has been an issue for Pemex and Mexico for years. 

Despite the pledge from November to stop gas flaring at Ixachi by the middle of January, Pemex has increased the rate of flaring, according to satellite imagery of the field analyzed for Reuters by scientists.

The plants Papan and Perdiz, which were set to process the gas from the Ixachi field, burned an estimated 1.3 billion cubic feet of gas in January, according to satellite data. The flaring increased from November, when the pledge was made, and when the plants burned 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas.   

“We have a spike in flaring in January for two of the largest flares,” Mikhail Zhizhin, a researcher from the Earth Observation Group at the Payne Institute for Public Policy, Colorado School of Mines, told Reuters. 

As of last week, the flares were still active, the researcher told Reuters. 

While Pemex appears to have made no progress with controlling gas flaring, it also posted staggering losses for last year—unlike all other oil companies who reported record profits amid soaring oil and gas prices and extreme volatility in 2022. 

Adding to Pemex’s woes, the Mexican state oil firm saw last week three fires in one day at three separate facilities that it operates in Mexico and the United States. Two people died in one of the fires at a Mexican refinery. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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