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    Global gas flaring drops to lowest level since 2010, says World Bank


    Mar 29, 2023

    The global gas flaring in the oil and gas industry has fallen to the lowest level since 2010, the World Bank has said.

    The World Bank, which disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja said progress in reducing gas flaring resumed in 2022, with gas flared worldwide falling by five billion cubic meters (BCM) to 139 BCM.

    Quoting from a new satellite data compiled by the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR), the Bank said the new level was its lowest since 2010.

    The reduction in 2022 is equivalent to taking three million cars off the road.

    The World Bank Vice-President for Infrastructure, Guangzhe Chen, said “after a decade of stalled progress, global gas flaring volumes fell in 2022 by about three percent.

    “This is a welcome drop, especially during a time of concern about energy security for many countries.

    “We continue to encourage all oil producers to seize opportunities to end this polluting and wasteful practice,’’ he said.

    The bank said three countries, Nigeria, Mexico, and the United States, accounted for most of the decline in global gas flaring in 2022, adding that two other countries – Kazakhstan and Colombia stood out for consistently reducing flaring volumes in the last seven years.

    In addition to the overall reduction in flare volume, the Bank said global flaring intensity, the amount of flaring per barrel of oil produced, also fell to its lowest level since satellite data began.

    It said this was due to the five percent increase in oil production in 2022, which indicates a gradual and sustained decoupling of oil production from flaring.’

    In spite of this progress, the World Bank said the top nine flaring countries continue to be responsible for the vast majority of flaring around the world.

    “Russia, Iraq, Iran, Algeria, Venezuela, the United States, Mexico, Libya, and Nigeria account for nearly three-quarters of flare volumes and under half of global oil production,2 the report said.

    The bank said the satellite data showed that decreased Russian gas exports to the European Union did not increase gas flaring in Russia.

    Throughout 2022, the Bank said the European Union significantly increased its Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports from the United States, Angola, Norway, Qatar, and Egypt, and via pipeline from Azerbaijan and Norway.

    “Of these countries, only the United States, Angola, and Egypt have made substantial progress in converting associated gas that will otherwise be flared into LNG exports.’’

    The bank said GGFR estimates that in 2022, gas flaring released 357 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, 315 million tonnes in the form of carbon dioxide, and 42 million tonnes in the form of methane.

    The report also considered the ‘state of the science’ and the uncertainty surrounding how much methane was released from flaring.

    “It finds that methane emissions due to flaring can be significantly higher than previously estimated.

    “For example, if the average flare is just five percentage points less efficient at combusting methane, then globally, the amount of methane released will be three times higher than currently estimated.’’

    The statement quoted World Bank’s GGFR Programme Manager, Zubin Bamji, as saying, “we are concerned by the amount of methane emitted through flaring, particularly from flares that are not working properly’’.

    “Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide in the short term.

    “So, we need to understand this more and are ramping up our efforts to help developing countries tackle methane emissions.’’

    “Gas flaring is the burning of natural gas associated with oil extraction.

    “This wasted gas can displace dirtier energy sources, increase energy access in some of the world’s poorest countries, and provide many countries worldwide with much-needed energy security.’’

    It said the World Bank’s GGFR was a trust fund and partnership of governments, oil companies, and multilateral organisations working to end routine gas flaring at oil production sites around the world.

    “GGFR helps identify solutions to the array of technical, economic, and regulatory barriers to flaring reduction.’’

    It said GGFR, in partnership with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines, had developed global gas flaring estimates.

    “These estimates are based upon observations from two satellites inaugurated in 2012 and 2017.

    “The advanced sensors of these satellites detect the heat emitted by gas flares as infrared emissions at global upstream oil and gas facilities.’’ (NAN)

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