A Permian operator has warned that it may flare up to 22,700 pounds of harmful air contaminants after a lightning strike caused an outage at a natural gas plant earlier this week.
Privately held operator Sabinal Energy told the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on Thursday that the flaring would take place at at least nine sites in two counties in the western portion of the state after a power outage at DCP Midstream's natural gas gathering plant in Eunice, New Mexico.
Flaring has become a hot topic in Texas, home to the eastern portion of the Permian basin, as operators face increasing pressure from the public and shareholders to curb emissions. The state — one of the friendliest to oil and gas in the nation — could consider new rules on flaring this autumn.
On Thursday, Sabinal disclosed in initial reports to TCEQ that its activities related to the DCP outage could release thousands of pounds of pollutants including carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide into the air, according to the reports.
A DCP Midstream spokesperson told Upstream on Thursday that the area had seen "some impactful storms" in recent days and a nearby lightning strike had affected the electronic systems at the plant. The spokesperson did not say when the outage began but said the plant had been down for over a day.
The company has been making repairs to the systems and is restarting the plant, the spokesperson said.
Sabinal Energy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, it told the TCEQ that it planned to discontinue flaring immediately once the DCP plant was back up and running.