Routine flaring – when excess natural gas is burned for reasons other than safety – wastes a valuable energy resource that could be used to support economic growth and progress. Across the globe countries are working on reducing routine flaring, helping make better use of the natural gas produced during the drilling of oil wells.
In this blog, we take a look back at the flaring news highlights of the last 12 months.
A global decline
The World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership programme reported a five per cent reduction in global gas flaring in 2017. The decline began in 2010 and has been gaining momentum ever since. 148 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas was flared in 2016, but operators in 2017 flared 141 bcm. Russia remains the world’s largest gas flaring country – yet it also experienced the biggest decline, with Venezuela and Mexico experiencing similar reductions in flaring.
However, a number of African countries have increased their flaring figures; Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Gabon are among the top 15 highest flaring countries in the world and have seen an increase in 2018.
The United States has also experienced flaring increases. The Permian Basin in West Texas frequently reported increasing flaring figures – doubling in the Basin in 2018 alone. As the US’ largest petroleum-producing basin, research found flaring in the region would continue to rise in 2019 to reach 600 million cubic feet per day unless new pipelines are manufactured to transport excess gas.
Solutions on the horizon
Despite pockets of increased flaring, worldwide initiatives continue to push for better management of excess natural gas. China, Russia, the US and Saudi Arabia have joined the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) – aiming to reduce global emissions caused by venting and flaring.
Nigeria was a frequent news story in 2018, with reports indicating the country now flares the equivalent of $10 billion of revenue per year. Yet throughout 2018, Nigeria attempted to push new legislation that would make better use of excess natural gas. In August, the country’s President announced approval of new Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations, and Nigeria is now moving forward with attracting investors in its oil and gas industry to improve gas management infrastructure.
From improved pipeline infrastructure to storage and transportation innovations, the oil and gas industry is discovering new solutions to reduce routine flaring. Through strict penalties, regulation and international collaboration, the industry can continue to make better use of a potentially wasted resource in 2019.
To effectively monitor flared natural gas, countries will need to use accurate measuring tools. Fluenta’s FGM 160 Flare Gas Meter uses ultrasonic technology to provide accurate flare gas measurement, enabling operators to better track emissions data for clear and accurate reporting.
For more information on Fluenta’s FGM 160 Flare Gas Meter, click here.