Oil industry increases gas flaring

Oil industry increases gas flaring

Oil Search Yemen Field Flare

Flared gas is a bigger problem than thought. Contrary to what has been agreed with the oil industry, worldwide the industry flared not less, but more gas.

In 2015, about 147 billion cubic meters which is a CO2 footprint of around 350 million tonnes!

The world bank published the figures in a report. Globally, over 16,000 oil wells are flaring gas.

The amount of wasted gas corresponds to the gas consumption of the UK, Germany and Switzerland together. If the gas was burned in a power plant, it could supply the whole of Africa with electricity.


The oil industry often finds gas in their oil fields. When the producer does not have the resources to process this gas, it is just burned. Not only this flaring is very polluting in the local area. It also emits around 350 million tonnes CO2 per year. This is pure extravagance. The gas basically could be used as a fuel.
In the period 2013 to 2015, about 4 percent of the total volume of gas was wasted, according to new figures from the World Bank. This is mainly due to the rapid growth of the oil and gas sector in Iraq and the United States. Savings in Nigeria, Libya and other countries have been offset.

The figure is bad news for the World Bank. The institute introduced the “Global Gas Flaring Reduction” -partnerschap in 2002. The bank agreed with huge oil companies to avoid any gas spoiling by 2030.

From a message of the World Bank

‘(…) Russia remains the world’s largest gas flaring country, about 21 bcm annually, followed by Iraq (16 bcm), Iran (12 bcm), the United States (12 bcm), and Venezuela (9 bcm).

Many countries have reduced their flaring over the last several years. Among the large flaring countries, Nigeria has made significant progress, reducing flaring by 18 percent since 2013, to less than 8 bcm in 2015.

Flaring in northern areas of the globe is a major source for the black carbon (soot) that deposits on the Arctic ice cap, which accelerates melting.
A global initiative to end routine gas flaring at oil production sites around the world has now been endorsed by 62 oil companies, governments and development institutions. Endorsers commit to not routinely flare gas in new oil field developments and to end routine flaring at existing oil production sites as soon as possible and no later than 2030.

“The Initiative has galvanized industry and brought global attention to a 150 year-old practice that needs to end,” said Riccardo Puliti, World Bank Senior Director for Energy and Extractive Industries. “While the recent increase in flaring is disappointing, we are encouraged by the longer term trend and industry’s desire to identify and implement solutions, as witnessed by the number of Initiative endorsers in just over a year.”

The “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” Initiative was launched on April 17, 2015, by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and 25 initial endorsers. Governments and oil companies that have endorsed the Initiative represent about 53% of global gas flaring. (…)’


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