The FINANCIAL – Oil production sites across the globe burned off less natural gas last year, new satellite data revealed. Despite a half-percent increase in global oil production, the decline in the global gas flaring – the burning of natural gas associated with oil extraction – reversed a trend that started in 2010.
Flaring of natural gas around the world contributes to climate change and it constitutes a waste of energy resources. The process takes place because of technical, regulatory, and/or economic constraints. It causes more than 350 million tons of CO2 emissions each year, with serious harmful impacts from uncombusted methane and black carbon emissions.
The data was recently released by the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR), a World Bank-managed organization comprising governments, oil companies, and international institutions working to reduce gas flaring.
According to the data, 141 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas was flared in 2017. This is a 5% decrease from 2016 when nearly 148 bcm of natural gas was flared. While Russia remains the world’s largest gas flaring country, it also saw the largest decline in flaring last year. Venezuela and Mexico also reduced their flaring significntlyin 2017, while in Iran and Libya, there were notable increases in gas flaring.