Global Flaring: Global Gas Flaring Value Surpasses $16B

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The value of natural gas flaring across the world has seen a substantial increase to hit a global peak of $16.4 billion this year, according to Scottish data analytics firm Brainnwave.

The firm said this is due to the rising price of natural gas and the increased volume of gas flared. Brainnwave’s analysis saw the value of natural gas flared by 80 different nations increased by 11 percent. Further, the volume of natural gas lost due to flaring increased by just over three percent, from 140.5 billion cubic meters in 2017 to 145 billion cubic meters in 2018.

“Gas flaring is a major environmental issue, but it is also a commercial one,” said Brainnwave CEO Steve Coates. “Oil producers often lack the infrastructure to export natural gas from their wells and face few alternatives but to flare it in order to reach oil.”

The most wasteful nations in 2018, Brainnwave contends, are Russia, Iraq, Iran and the U.S. – altogether flaring more than 70 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The firm said this is enough to heat 38 million homes for one year and is also more gas flared than the next 30 most wasteful nations combined.




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This is my biggest gripe about the oil industry, all the seemingly wasteful flaring. I understand the necessity to burn off super sour gas and protect production equipment some places, and the difficulty transporting it to market, but I'm surprised no person or company has come up with a reasonable and economic use for the gas at the site of production. I suppose there are some pumping companies running natural gas fired turbines to power equipment/pumps, but is only a drop in the bucket and I'm not sure about what processing is necessary before produced gas can be used in those systems. 

Ironically, all the protest of new pipelines that would enable the transportation of gas to market exacerbate the issue and makes flaring even more necessary. This is somewhere I would support regulation on flaring if it was coupled with access to build pipelines to transport the gas to market. In my experience, oil & gas companies would be much happier to sell it if they could, where it could then be used to offset coal and fuel oils use and reduce the overall carbon emissions.

Edited by PE Scott
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