Flaring - The Ultimate Gas Guzzler  

Posted by Big Gav in

Next100 has a post on the unnatural practice of natural gas flaring - The Ultimate Gas Guzzler.

If you wanted to help curb global warming by slashing emissions of 400 million tons of CO2 annually, you could:

* take 77 million automobiles off the road, or
* eliminate the wasteful practice of venting and “flaring” (burning) of billions of cubic meters of unused natural gas from production wells.

Much as I'd like to choose Plan A on some days as a solution to my morning commute hassles, I have to admit that Plan B sounds more practical. In fact, it sounds like a no-brainer. After all, why hurt the environment by wasting a resource that could instead make money by putting it to productive use?

The staggering waste of gas—and consequent economic opportunity for conservation—was highlighted this week in a study released by GE called Flare Gas Reduction: Recent Global Trends and Policy Considerations. It concludes that with existing technology, some $20 billion in gas could be reclaimed to generate electric power and “yield billions of dollars per year in increased global economic output.”

One of the biggest offenders is the Russian Federation, which flares up to 50 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually due to underinvestment in gas processing and power generation technology.

Runners up include Nigeria, which wastes 15 billion cubic feet per year, and other countries in West Africa, which together burn off some 10 billion cubic feet. Fortunately, Nigeria plans major investments to capture and turn its flared gas into a valuable asset.

Wasteful flaring takes place even in the United States. In North Dakota, for example, roughly a quarter of all gas produced from oil wells is simply burned off.

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