XTO Energy pulls plan for New Mexico natural gas facility

A major oil and gas producer in the Permian Basin withdrew its application for a permit to construct and operate a natural gas facility in southeastern New Mexico.

ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy announced last week it is withdrawing its permit application in Eddy County, citing future infrastructure plans in the area, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports.

The application was for two facilities known as the Husky Gas Plant and Central Delivery Point planned to operate in Eddy County about 14 miles northeast of Loving, New Mexico.

The facilities would have had the capacity to process about 200,000 barrels per day of oil stabilization.

Overall, the facility was also expected to emit about 2.7 million tons per day of greenhouse gases.

Records show the New Mexico Environment Department found the expected emissions would not exceed air quality standards, and on Aug. 4 announced its intent to approve the permit by Sept. 7.

In the letter withdrawing the permit, Ethan Boor, an environmental engineer with XTO Energy, said the permit was to be withdrawn in response to “future infrastructure development plans” in Eddy County.

Boor wrote that the Delaware Basin, an oil-rich western section of the greater Permian Basin that straddles the New Mexico-Texas state line, remained an important area for XTO’s ongoing fossil fuel development operations.

He noted the company recently began operations at its Cowboy Central Delivery Point, a natural gas processing plant in Lea County about 18 miles southeast of Loving and will continue to use existing infrastructure to develop in the Permian with a “smaller environmental footprint.”

Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director at Santa Fe-based environmental group WildEarth Guardians, said the organization opposed the project from its start, citing its impact on air quality if the plant was built and operated.

He said that while the New Mexico Environment Department and the XTO did not acknowledge the reason for the withdrawal of the permit, Nichols suspected air quality concerns raised by WildEarth Guardians likely played a role in the decision.

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