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Oil and Gas Industry Hit after the Texas Snowstorm

After Texas was hit by a raging snowstorm and frigid temperatures last month, oil and gas behemoths responsible for processing and producing the lion share of the nations’ reserves were shut down. Major production was done for companies like Exxon, Marathon Petroleum, and Occidental. Due to the natural calamity, companies shut the production at oil wells and refineries across the state.

Many oil producers located in the Permian Basin of Nex Mexico and West Texas faced a squeeze in upstream and downstream operations due to the shutdown. Downstream, multiple refining operations flared during the shutdowns, which released air pollutants from processing units. As oil drilling started again, there was a risk of needing to flare or halt oil production.

Including refining and utility generation, the oil production needed to be stabilized. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the satellite imagery showed increased flaring at oil and gas production sites in the Permian Basin. Some companies like Occidental shut down some operations.

Vicki Hollub, Occidental’s CEO, said during a recent CNBC Evolve event focused on energy innovation, “There were a couple of plants that had difficulty coming back online. We could have put our production back online and just flared the gas. We chose not to do that. We left the production shut down because we didn’t want to flare.”

As a part of a broader debate with the oil and gas industry over flaring, the decisions were made during the Texas Power crisis. The process of releasing greenhouse gas emissions by burning has long been a controversial topic for several climate policy experts and environmental advocates.

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