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EXCLUSIVE – Mexico flinched record amounts of gas in 2021 –study

EXCLUSIVE – Mexico flinched record amounts of gas in 2021 –study

Mexico’s energy sector exploded at an unprecedented rate last year, while the number of sites where gas has been burned off rose despite promises by the government to reduce such activity. This was according to research by a leading scientific team.

This practice emits carbon dioxide, black carbon, and other harmful pollutants. It also releases methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas that scientists believe is linked to global warming. It also results in the loss of valuable resources associated with many oil reserves. Mexico emitted 6.5 billion cubic meters (bcm), of oil in 2021, compared with 5.8 bcm a single year earlier, according to Tamara Sparks of the Earth Observation Group of Colorado School of Mines. She analyzed NASA satellite images of flare areas for Reuters.

Sparks stated, “Flaring peaked early 2021, but remained high sufficient throughout the year to beat2020, which was already an all-time record.” Sparks also reported that the Earth Observation Group data showed a rise last year in the number of individual flare locations across Mexico to 181, up from 170 in 2020. In their current form, records were established in 2012.

These numbers are not known. Researchers at the Earth Observation Group estimate that increased flaring emits millions more tons of greenhouse gases.

Flaring is more cost-effective than investing in costly infrastructure to capture, process, and transport the oil for other uses. Officials from the state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos and the Energy Ministry stated that current budget priorities are to explore and increase oil production as well as build two new refineries.

Pemex and the energy ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Pemex, the most indebted state-owned oil company in the world, has been under pressure to meet ambitious oil production goals under President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (an energy nationalist) with little or no private investment

The data showed that Mexico had produced 3.9 billion barrels of crude oil in the year Lopez Obrador was elected to office. The practice has risen despite falling oil production in Mexico. The data for 2021 show that despite pledges to reduce flaring and greenhouse gas emissions, Mexico is still behind the global effort to transition to cleaner energy.

Scientists and researchers around the globe, including at The World Bank, have warned that routine flaring contributes to climate change as well as environmental pollution. In its most recent quarterly filings, Pemex said that it is flaring excessively. It has stated that the infrastructure to deal with the gas associated with oil production is inefficient and outdated.

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Lopez Obrador believes it will take time for Pemex to turn around, and has accused his predecessors in decades of mismanagement. Emily Medina, a fellow with the Energy Policy Research Foundation, stated that Pemex has a social obligation to reduce flaring and that it would make economic sense.

Medina stated that gas is a valuable commodity, especially in the current high-price environment. “It could strengthen Mexico’s energy security.”

(This story is not edited by Devdiscourse staff.

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