Preliminary 4Q20 data suggests that total Permian flaring – including satellite-based estimates for flaring on midstream facilities – declined by 17% between 3Q and 4Q20 and averaged about 350 MMcfd in the final quarter of 2020. Delaware North (New Mexico) is the only major sub-basin that saw a sequential increase in flaring in 4Q20, but it is also the region with the most significant jump in both activity levels and in oil production.
At the same time, Delaware North exhibits the lowest flaring intensity among major Permian sub-basins along with Midland North – 1.2% as of 4Q20. Meanwhile, basinwide wellhead flaring intensity has continued to decline, reaching 1.4% on a quarterly basis in 4Q20, versus 1.7% in 3Q20. It is possible that final 4Q20 flaring intensity numbers will end up close to 1.3% once the reporting becomes complete for December 2020. Delaware East is the only major sub-basin where flaring intensity remains above 2%, whereas Delaware West largely followed the basinwide flaring intensity trend in 2H20. Midland East posted a wellhead flaring intensity of 1.4% in 4Q20, in line with the estimate published in our previous review of flaring activity.