22 June 2014 – The World Bank will urge producers of oil to stop flaring natural gas by 2030, saying the amount of fuel wasted in the practice would generate enough power to meet all of Africa’s demand for electricity.
“It will be voluntary but we hope that both companies and countries will see the sense in what we are proposing,” Anita George in the bank’s extractive industry unit was quoted by Bloomberg to have said in Moscow.
“We are planning to propose it in September.”
The World Bank is leading 33 companies and nations in the Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership that seeks to shrink the industry custom by 30 percent in the five years to 2017. The gas is pumped from fields when companies drill for oil.
Halting the burning of about 140 billion cubic meters of gas globally every year would reduce carbon-dioxide emissions equivalent to taking about 70 million cars off the roads.
Mexico and Azerbaijan have reduced flaring about 66 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively, in the past two years, George said.
In Nigeria, Royal Dutch Shell Plc is investing about $4 billion to reduce flaring from local oil fields.
BP Plc’s biggest flaring occurs at its crude production in the Rumaila oilfield in Iraq, the chief executive officer at the London-based company, Bob Dudley said.
It’s proposing to pump gas to Kuwait to reduce the country’s liquefied natural gas imports.
“That would be a big step forward for the world,” Dudley added. He downplayed the World Bank initiative.
“Zero is like saying never or nothing,” he said. “So that’s probably not realistic, that’s an aspiration to go.”
“According to satellite data Russia is by far the largest flarer of gas,” George said at the World Petroleum Congress in Moscow. OAO Rosneft, OAO Sibur Holding, OAO Lukoil, OAO Gazprom Neft and OAO Surgutneftegas have been increasing use of the gas partly for local power generation, she said.
The World Bank’s GGFR experts have been crunching satellite data for more than year to compile a new report on flaring. The last was published in July 2012, with 2011 data.
“We’re working on calibrating the flares” to get reliable results, said Bjorn Hamso, program manager. Preliminary results show the US share of flaring is growing after a surge in its oil and gas production.
It’s behind Iraq and Russia “competing for the top spot,” followed by Nigeria and Iran, Hamso said.
*World Bank press release