Without fanfare or mainstream news coverage, S&P Global Market Intelligence recently reported that oil and gas companies in New Mexico wasted more natural gas than is consumed by the state’s nearly 600,000 residential customers.
Wasting natural resources is not the New Mexico way. Leaks, venting and flaring from the tens of thousands of wells across New Mexico amount to hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lost profit and tens of millions more in lost revenue to the state. Treating natural gas as a waste product instead of capturing and marketing this valuable energy resource is bad for business and bad for New Mexico taxpayers, and it has dire consequences for our children’s education, the health of our communities and the climate.
It is important to understand that methane is the main component of natural gas. It is the primary energy resource used to generate about one-third of our nation’s electricity. Without oversight, methane can leak at every step in the gas supply chain and throughout the oil production process.
When natural gas is vented, flared or leaked due to faulty oil and gas operations, New Mexico taxpayers lose out on tax and royalty revenue that could fund our schools and critical public services. Recapturing estimated annual losses of $40 million in taxes and royalties would allow the state to increase pre-K enrollment by 80% and offer more than 7,000 additional New Mexico kids access to quality early childhood education.