The debate over flaring unconventional oil and gas in shale basins across the United States has suddenly heated up immensely (excuse the bad pun).
On March 27, the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economy (CERES) penned a letter calling for an end to the practice, writing,
We are a group of 37 investors, representing $500 billion in total assets, who areconcerned about the financial risks associated with the flaring of natural gas that has accompanied fast-proliferating oil production from shale formations in North Dakota, Texas and elsewhere in the U.S.
We are concerned that excessive flaring, because of its impact on air quality and climate change, poses significant risks for the companies involved, and for the industry at large,ultimately threatening the industry’s license to operate.
As you know, shale oil production, made possible by hydraulic fracturing technology,…is poised to become the world’s largest oil producer in the next five years, with nearly all of this projected growth coming from shale oil. …
On a lifecycle basis, emissions from oil produced with high flaring rates may be comparable to those from Canada’s vast oil sands region.
The letter ended by calling for the building up of proper infrastructure, such as pipelines and refineries, in order to push for an eliminiation of the dirty practice. CERES concluded the letter with a firm request, stating, “We therefore are writing to request information about the amount your company is currently flaring, as well as details about your plans to reduce flaring at existing wells and prevent it at future wells.”
Letter signarories included As You Sow, Presbyterian Church (USA), Turner Investments, and Praxis Mutual Funds, to name several.