The Oil Conservation Division (OCD) and its parent agency, the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) began work on stricter regulations on gas emissions from extraction facilities last year as mandated by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham through an executive order. Grisham established the State’s Climate Change Task Force, made up of EMNRD and the New Mexico Environment Department to find ways state operations and laws could be used or developed to reduce pollution in New Mexico and its impact on climate change. Reported last month, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) reported that in 2018, oil and gas provided 134,000 instate jobs and $16.6 billion to the state’s economy.
The proposed rule would require both upstream and midstream oil and gas operators to capture 98 percent of their natural gas by 2026, rather than releasing the gas through venting or burning it off via flaring. Methane emissions makes up one of New Mexico’s largest greenhouse gas emissions. Ryan Flynn, NMOGA executive director is strongly against these regulations. “The oil and natural gas industry support jobs and local economies in every corner of our state, and this report underscores the employment ripple effect inherent in this industry when it is allowed to be successful,” said Flynn said. Reports by Baker Hughes showed New Mexico had 45 active rigs as of last week, while the state averaged 101 in October of 2018 and 112 last October.
Already effected by the pandemic, the severe decline in oil and gas activity led by a massive group in the value of fossil fuel. New Mexico reported 2021 would see a 40% drop in revenue compared to 2018. As states recover from the COVID-19, these regulations will not only have a big impact on New Mexico’s economy but also the employment of over 100,000 jobs.