Amidst current presidential campaigning in the US, President Obama has continued his pursuit to curb climate change, involving a proposal to clamp down on gas flaring. Meanwhile, as bad weather continues to affect the oil and gas industry, work has had to be shut down in the North Sea at the Maersk Oil production site. Also, a further report has been released recently following a review by NASA satellites – indicating that 3.5% of the world’s gas was wasted in 2012 through gas flaring.
Obama announces new rules in gas flaring clamp down
As part of President Barack Obama’s bid to curb climate change, his administration has committed to clamping down on oil companies burning off natural gas on public land. US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell commented that natural gas should be used to power the economy, as opposed to being burned into the atmosphere.
The new proposed rules are set to modernise standards that do not currently reflect existing technologies. The new rule requires the rate of gas flaring to be limited on public and tribal lands, and organisations will need to regularly inspect their operations for any leaks. In addition, they will be required to replace any equipment that is out-of-date and used to vent large quantities of gas. Public comment is open for at least two months and a final decision is due to be made by the end of 2016.
3.5% of the world’s gas is wasted due to flaring
A recent review by NASA satellite data of the world’s natural gas supply has found that approximately 3.5% resulted from flaring in oil and gas fields in 2012. With more than 143 billion cubic metres of natural gas burned in 2012, Russia was found to be the top natural gas flaring nation – burning 25 billion cubic metres.
The Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership at Washington DC’s World Bank has confirmed its commitment to end gas flaring by the end of 2030 at oil production sites worldwide – all part of the Zero Routine Flaring initiative. So far, 45 governments, oil companies and organisations worldwide have agreed to join the plan which aims to end the waste of non–renewable resources. The satellite findings have meant that countries are able to identify accurate data that shows where the gas is being burned and consequently where to target for reductions.
Maersk Oil’s North Sea platforms in shutdown
Following bad weather, the Tyra gas fields in the Danish sector of the North Sea have had to be closed for safety reasons and production has been temporarily suspended due to the shutdown. The Danish Underground Consortium produces gas and uses the Tyra gas fields as an export centre. The Tyra gas field is made up of two platform complexes – Tyra East and Tyra West. Personnel are continuing to remain on the platform and as yet, no evacuation has been planned. Maersk Oil has confirmed that it will continue to monitor the weather forecast and will make arrangements accordingly.