Despite consistently touting their efforts of reducing methane emissions in several carefully crafted press releases, it appears some of Chevron’s claims may be full of hot air — just ask self-described “methane hunter” Sharon Wilson.

Wilson, the founder of environmental watchdog group Oilfield Witness, headed to TikTok last week with a concerning glimpse at the company’s now-defunct “Soapy Smith” site in Reeves County, Texas, sharing footage depicting what appears to be an unlit vapor recovery unit spewing methane gas straight into the air.

@txsharon #oilandgas #methane #oilfield #climatechange ? original sound - TXsharon

“This flare has been unlit for maybe two or more years,” Wilson explained, showing the offending leak through the lens of her specialized FLIR gas-detection camera. “Every trip that we've been here, it’s been unlit.”

Vapor recovery units, according to the EPA, are “commonly used to capture methane emissions,” using a flare to burn off the harmful gas before it can escape into the environment. Though oil and gas companies like Chevron and BP, which Wilson detailed in a 2022 interview with the Associated Press, may pat themselves on the back for having this technology, several of these vapor recovery units remain — much like the implications of climate change — conspicuously unlit.

“Essentially, the vapor recovery unit is useless,” Wilson continued, showing the offending site. “This is an example of how the industry puts on some best available control technology, they check that box, and then they never maintain it or make sure it’s working.”

“It’s just a joke,” she concluded. “The joke is on us, folks.”

While it’s unclear whether Chevron, BP or any of the big oil baddies plan on doing anything about these horrific omissions, there’s a very important lesson to be learned from this sticky — and stinky — situation.

Methane: Not even once.