World Bank: Worldwide gas flaring increased in 2015

The amount of natural gas flared at oil production sites worldwide has increased in the past 5 years, reversing a previous reduction trend, the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) reported.

The World Bank-led organization of oil companies, governments, and international institutions and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration developed the flaring estimates based on observations from advanced sensors in a satellite launched in 2012.

The latest data show that an estimated 147 billion cu m (bcm) of gas was flared in 2015, up from 145 bcm in 2014 and 141 bcm in 2013, GGFR said on Dec. 12. Russia remains the world’s largest gas flaring country, igniting about 21 bcm/year, followed by Iraq, 16 bcm; Iran, 12 bcm; the US, 12 bcm; and Venezuela, 9 bcm.

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

The worldwide initiative to end routine gas flaring at oil production sites has been endorsed by 62 oil companies, governments, and development institutions, GGFR said. 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, it noted.

The “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” Initiative was launched on Apr. 17, 2015, by United Nations Sec.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon, World Bank Pres. Jim Yong Kim, and 25 initial endorsers. Governments and oil companies that have endorsed the initiative represent about 53% of global gas flaring, GGFR said.

“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.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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