Implementing Zero routine flaring initiative
Governments, oil companies, and development institutions around the world are encouraged to endorse the “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” Initiative.
During oil production, associated gas is produced from the reservoir together with the oil. Much of this gas is utilized or conserved because governments and oil companies have made substantial investments to capture it; nevertheless, some of it is flared because of technical, regulatory, or economic constraints. As a result, thousands of gas flares at oil production sites around the globe burn approximately 140 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, causing more than 300 million tons of CO2 to be emitted to the atmosphere.
Flaring of gas contributes to climate change and impacts the environment through emission of CO2, black carbon and other pollutants. It also wastes a valuable energy resource that could be used to advance the sustainable development of producing countries. For example, if this amount of gas were used for power generation, it could provide about 750 billion kWh of electricity, or more than the African continent’s current annual electricity consumption. While associated gas cannot always be used to produce power, it can often be utilized in a number of other productive ways or conserved (re-injected into an underground formation).
This “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” initiative, introduced by the World Bank, brings together governments, oil companies, and development institutions who recognize the flaring situation described above is unsustainable from a resource management and environmental perspective, and who agree to cooperate to eliminate routine flaring no later than 2030.
The initiative pertains to routine flaring and not to flaring for safety reasons or non-routine flaring, which nevertheless should be minimized. Routine flaring of gas is flaring during normal oil production operations in the absence of sufficient facilities or amenable geology to re-inject the produced gas, utilize it on-site, or dispatch it to a market. Venting is not an acceptable substitute for flaring.
Governments that endorse this initiative will provide a legal, regulatory, investment, and operating environment that is conducive to upstream investments and to the development of viable markets for utilization of the gas and the infrastructure necessary to deliver the gas to these markets. This will provide companies the confidence and incentive as a basis for investing in flare elimination solutions. Governments will require, and stipulate in their new prospect offers, that field development plans for new oil fields incorporate sustainable utilization or conservation of the field’s associated gas without routine flaring. Furthermore, governments will make every effort to ensure that routine flaring at existing oil fields ends as soon as possible, and no later than 2030.
Oil companies that endorse this initiative will develop new oil fields they operate according to plans that incorporate sustainable utilization or conservation of the field’s associated gas without routine flaring. Oil companies with routine flaring at existing oil fields they operate will seek to implement economically viable solutions to eliminate this legacy flaring as soon as possible, and no later than 2030.
Development institutions that endorse this initiative will facilitate cooperation and implementation, and consider the use of financial instruments and other measures, particularly in their client countries. They will endeavor to do so also in client countries that have not endorsed the initiative.
Governments and oil companies that endorse the initiative will publicly report their flaring and progress towards the initiative on an annual basis. They also agree to the World Bank aggregating and reporting the same.
The parties that endorse the initiative acknowledge that its success requires all involved – governments and oil companies, with the support of development institutions – to fully cooperate and take the action described herein to eliminate routine flaring no later than 2030.
OMV ON TRACK
OMV endorsed the “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” initiative beginning of 2017.
According to OMV, associated-gas flaring is carried out at oil production sites all over the world. Satellite data shows more than 16,000 of these flares in around 90 countries. Flaring results in approximately 140 billion cubic meters of natural gas burned annually, causing more than 300 million tonnes of CO2 to be emitted into the atmosphere.
“There are thousands of gas flames from flaring around the globe. That’s too many – in terms of both the environment and the economy”, says Brigitte Bichler, who is responsible for Environmental Management at OMV. Of course, the climate benefits from every single tonne of CO2 that can be saved. But it also makes no sense economically just to burn gas. Flaring associated gas is unproductive and is easier to avoid than other CO2 emissions.
WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH &LSQUO;ASSOCIATED GAS&RSQUO?
From a technical viewpoint, the gas can be re-injected into the oil reservoir to increase oil production. As it is ‘common’ natural gas, it can also be applied anywhere that natural gas is used: For producing power, as a raw material for manufacturing chemical substances, for heating homes, fuelling CNG vehicles etc. “Since 2008 we have reduced our annual direct CO2 emissions by one million tonnes through energy efficiency measures in our production sites. We are thereby on the right track!” – OMV representatives underlined.
TUNISIA AND ROMANIA SHOW HOW IT CAN WORK
A project for gas utilization in Waha, in the south of Tunisia, is underway in a three-step process. At the beginning of the project there was a lack of infrastructure for utilizing the associated gas. In the first phase of the project, the gas will be compressed and fed through a newly built, 5km-long pipeline to the Tunisian gas market. The second step will see the installation of two vapor recovery units in order to handle the remaining low-pressure gas effectively. The construction of a 50km-long gas pipeline from the Anaguid Block to the Waha gas recovery will take place in the third phase. The whole project will save around 120,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.
ROMANIA, THE GROUP&RSQUO;S STAR WHEN IT COMES TO CUTTING CO2
OMV Petrom is taking a different approach in Romania with Gas-to-Power (G2P) and combined heat and power plants (CHP): The gas will be converted into power or heat and re-used for energy consumption. There are currently 31 projects of this type with a total capacity of 65 MW. This corresponds to the annual electricity consumption of around 270,000 households. To be able to meet the entire onshore power demand of OMV Petrom in the long run, additional 13 power plants will be built in the coming years.