World Environment Day is organised by the United Nations (UN) every year to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment. Celebrated on June 5th, it has become a global event and is recognised in more than 100 countries. A key objective of the day is to encourage individuals and organisations to do their part in taking care of the Earth.
This World Environment Day, Fluenta is joining the conversation, discussing the state of greenhouse gas emissions in the Oil & Gas Industry and how accurate measurement can help drastically reduce routine flaring across the globe.
The oil and gas conundrum
Gas flaring often occurs when oil and gas sites lack the infrastructure to collect excess natural gas. Without it, there is an increased risk of unplanned over-pressurising of equipment. Flaring alleviates this build-up of pressure and reduces the risk of explosion. However when natural gas is flared for reasons other than safety, routine flaring becomes an issue.
Billions of cubic meters of natural gas is flared annually at oil production sites across the globe, according to the World Bank. If collected, natural gas can be exported to other countries, used in power generation or otherwise utilised. In Nigeria – Africa’s largest oil and gas producer – flared gas represents a loss of $10 billion of revenue and 2.5 giga-watts of electricity a year.
Routine flaring is also a significant contributor to global warming. Greenhouse gases are a growing problem with the Earth getting warmer under the greenhouse effect – affecting weather patterns and the global sea level. The burning of fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas – is one of the major contributors to the release of harmful emissions into the atmosphere, exacerbating the issue. A study on the largest gas, oil and coal producers from 2017 found the industry is responsible for half of the historical rise in average global temperatures.
The main component of natural gas is methane – a potent greenhouse gas. When released into the atmosphere, methane is 86 to 105 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2) at disrupting the climate across a 20-year period. When burned, natural gas instead releases CO2, and is the least polluting of the three fossil fuels. Yet routine flaring still represents significant contributions to the greenhouse effect – more than 300 million tonnes of CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere annually across the globe. For a more sustainable future, oil and gas companies that regularly flare natural gas need to consider how to scale back emissions heavy processes.
A way forward?
Strategies already exist to reduce and ultimately eliminate routine flaring. The Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 Initiative – organised by the World Bank – encourages companies to conserve or otherwise utilise excess natural gas. It brings together governments, oil companies and development institutions that recognise the current flaring environment is unsustainable from a resource management and environmental perspective.
Key to managing flaring is accurate reporting and tracking. Fluenta’s FGM 160 Flare Gas Meter provides ultrasonic technology for reliable flare gas measurement. Through measurement, companies can better understand their emissions targets and significantly reduce routine flaring.
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