Study Uses Satellites To Count Flares Near Eagle Ford Shale

Credit: Tess Freeman/The Victoria Advocate via AP.
This photo taken in 2014 shows a gas flare burning at sunset on an oil field off North County Road 0294 and Farm-to-Market Road 2067 near Cheapside, Texas. Researchers from the University of Southern California and San Francisco State University are using satellites to see how much flaring occurs in the region, in addition to data provided by the oil and gas industry. The researchers have counted 43,887 distinct oil and gas flares in the region from 2012 to 2016.

Researchers at two California universities are studying the fiery flares that pock-mark drilling sites in the Eagle Ford Shale of south Texas.

Researchers from the University of Southern California and San Francisco State University are using satellites to see how much flaring occurs in the region, in addition to data provided by the oil and gas industry. The researchers have counted 43,887 distinct oil and gas flares in the region from 2012 to 2016, the Victoria Advocate reported.

“The takeaway is there is a lot of flaring going on, even in the downturn,” said Meredith Franklin, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of clinical preventive medicine at the University of Southern California.

The researchers estimate that over the 5-year period, 159 Bcf of gas was flared in the Eagle Ford Shale area.

“And that’s enough natural gas to power roughly 2.5 million homes for a year,” Franklin said.

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