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Oil producers such as Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) are burning off gas in the largest oil field in the United States without required Texas state permits, the environmental group Earthworks said in a report on Thursday.

Energy producers flare gas, an unwanted by-product of oil extraction, when they cannot transport the gas to consumers. Flaring reduces, but doesn’t eliminate, methane emissions and contributes to climate change by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Texas, the nation’s biggest oil producer, has more permissive rules on flaring than other oil-and-gas producing states, and regulators there have opposed additional regulations to limit emissions.

The report compared permitting records from Texas regulators with flares witnessed on flights equipped with gas imaging cameras that were conducted by the Environmental Defense Fund. It found that of 227 flares observed, between 69% and 84% were likely unpermitted.

Big producers such as Shell, Exxon and Diamondback Energy Inc (FANG.O) were among the companies with multiple flares that had no permits, the report said.

Shell and Exxon, who did not review the full report ahead of publication, dismissed the topline findings, saying they follow all regulations and work toward ending routine flares. Diamondback did not respond to a request for comment.

[Valerie Volcovici and Nichola Groom]

More: Most flares from Texas Permian oil drilling lack permits – study

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