Oil executives have been secretly recorded in sharing their real views on climate change, contradicting their public claims that methane emissions, which scientists say leads to global warming, are under control.
Last June Ron Ness, the president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council spoke at a discussion by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a group that represents energy companies, where he rebelled against the need to increase methane regulation.
He called stronger methane regulation 'an unnecessary burden', claiming the industry already produced 'valuable energy resources in a responsible manner', according to a New York Times report.
'We’re just flaring a tremendous amount of gas. This pesky natural gas. The value of it is very minimal,' he said at the gathering in Colorado Springs.
His comments came at a time when the public worried oil producers intentionally flared or burned off too much methane, which contributes to climate change.
At least three oil and gas executives were secretly recorded sharing their views on climate change and methane regulation, which defy their public claims that companies have the methan emissions crisis under control
In a June 2019 meeting among gas and oil industry leaders Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, called stronger methane regulation 'an unnecessary burden'. 'We’re just flaring a tremendous amount of gas. This pesky natural gas. The value of it is very minimal,' he said, refuting industry claims that they were flaring minimal amounts or trying to capture it
Oil wells produce oil and natural gas, but oil commands high prices and producers use flaring as a cheap way to get rid of the gas.
Ness said there’s so much natural gas some producers drill primarily for oil and have little use for the gas that comes with it.
But the dramatic flares have been heavily criticized in the public eye and they are a 'huge, huge threat' to the industry’s effort to portray natural gas as cleaner and climate friendly, Ness said.
The recording runs one hour and 22 minutes where industry heads covered threats posed by solar and wind energy and the federal leasing of oil and gas rights.
The audio was provided by an organization dedicated to tracking climate policy that said the recording had made by an industry official who attended the meeting. The group declined to be named for fear of retribution.
Three people heard in the recording including moderator Ryan Ullman of the Independent Petroleum Association said it reflected their comments.
Those comments are incendiary because the oil industry has presented itself as part of a solution to climate change and that natural gas is a 'bridge fuel' to help the way move away from coal and towards renewable energy.
But natural gas when burned emits half the planet-warming greenhouses gases that coal, the world's dirtiest energy source, does.
Flaring off natural gas, rather than capturing it for use, creates pollution without creating usable energy.
Drilling for gas can also cause leaks of methane into the atmosphere and it can escape through faulty flares. Companies are also known to at times deliberately release gas from wells and