Exclusive-Mexico study hit record gas levels in 2021

FILE PHOTO: Gaseous Inflammation Seen Behind Homes Near Dos Bocas Marine Terminal in Tabasco, Mexico, October 20, 2021. REUTERS / Edgard Garrido

March 22, 2022

By Stefanie Eschenbacher

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s energy boom hit record highs last year, and the number of gas-fired sites also rose despite government pledges to cut activity, according to a study by a leading group of scientists.

Practice releases carbon dioxide, carbon black and other pollutants as well as methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that scientists have linked to global warming. It also wastes useful resources associated with many oil fields.

Mexico launched 6.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in 2021, up from 5.8 bcm a year earlier, said Tamara Sparks, a researcher at the Colorado School of Mines Earth Observation Group, which analyzed NASA satellite images from locations flashes for Reuters. .

“Flaring peaked in early 2021, but remained high enough throughout the year to surpass 2020, which was already a record high,” Sparks said.

Data from the Earth Observation Team also showed an increase in the number of individual flare sites across Mexico last year to 181 from 170 in 2020, Sparks said. The records in their current form began in 2012.

The numbers have not been mentioned before.

The increased explosion emits an additional millions of tons of greenhouse gases, according to researchers from the Earth Observation Team.

However, combustion is cheaper in the short term than investing in expensive infrastructure to capture, process and transport it for other uses.

Officials at state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and the energy ministry said current budget priorities focus on exploring and boosting oil production, as well as two new refineries.

Neither Pemex nor the Department of Energy responded to a request for comment on this story.

Pemex, the world’s most heavily indebted state-owned oil company, is under pressure to meet ambitious oil production targets under President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an energy nationalist, with little or no private investment.

When Lopez Obrador took office at the end of 2018, Mexico had grown by 3.9 billion cubic meters that year, the data showed. Since then, the practice has skyrocketed even as oil production in Mexico declined.

The 2021 data suggest that despite commitments to reduce explosions and greenhouse gas emissions, Mexico lags behind in a global push for cleaner energy.

Researchers and scientists around the world, including the World Bank, which is leading a global push to end major eruptions by 2030, have warned that the practice is contributing to climate change and environmental pollution.

Pemex said in recent quarterly deposits that it was igniting too much. The infrastructure for dealing with gas related to oil production is inefficient, outdated or non-existent, he said.

Lopez Obrador has argued that it will take time for Pemex to change, and has blamed his predecessors for decades of mismanagement and looting.

Emily Medina, an associate at the Energy Policy Research Foundation, said Pemex has a social and environmental obligation to reduce the explosion and that it would also make financial sense.

“Gas is a valuable commodity, especially under the current environment of high prices,” Medina said. “It could help boost Mexico’s energy security.”

(Report by Stefanie Eschenbacher ยท Edited by David Gregorio)

Exclusive-Mexico study hit record gas levels in 2021

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