End of routine gas flaring at oil production sites urged by 2030

Supporters of ending routine natural gas flaring met Apr. 17 at headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, DC, to launch the “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” initiative.

Companies and countries endorsing the initiative have agreed to cooperate to eliminate routine gas flaring “as soon as possible and no later than 2030.” Endorsers of the initiative collectively represent more than 40% of global gas flaring, World Bank said.

Every year, about 140 billion cu m of associated gas is wastefully burned at thousands of oil fields. Backers of the initiative said the amount accounts for more than 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere, equivalent to emissions from about 77 million cars.

“In our operations in Norway, we do not carry out any routine flaring,” said Eldar Saetre, chief executive officer of Statoil ASA. “This leading performance was made possible by a government determined to avoid waste and maximize value from its natural resources.” Norway banned routine flaring in 1971.

“Meeting the target of zero routine flaring by 2030 is a highly important contribution our industry can make towards mitigating climate change,” Saetre said.

Jorma Ollila, chairman of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, was among those who attended the ceremony.

Endorsers will publicly report their flaring and progress on an annual basis. Routine flaring will not take place in new oil developments.

“Reducing gas flaring can make a significant contribution towards mitigating climate change,” said United Nations Sec.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon. “I appeal to all oil-producing countries and companies to join this important initiative.”

World Bank Pres. Jim Yong Kim said, “Together we can take concrete action to end flaring and to use this valuable natural resource to light the darkness for those without electricity.”

World Bank said the initiative has been endorsed by 10 oil companies, nine countries, and six development institutions. In addition to Statoil and Shell, the companies include Eni, BG Group, Total, Kuwait Oil Co., State Oil Co. of the Azerbaijan Republic, Societe Nationale des Hydrocarbures of Cameroon, Societe Nationale des Petroles du Congo, and Petroamazonas EP of Ecuador.

World Bank said oil companies and governments that have yet to endorse the initiative are “currently undertaking comprehensive reviews of their gas flaring, and many are expected to join the initiative in the coming months.”

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