Saturday, June 24, 2006

World Bank tackles gas flaring

(Source Article: Reducing the gas burning - World Bank News)

Every year, some 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas (roughly equivalent to 25% of annual US consumption) goes up in smoke as a result of “flaring”—the burning of excess natural gas that’s a byproduct of oil production. It’s been an effective way to process oil, but the World Bank recently warned that it needs to stop, because it’s a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to being a waste of a valuable energy resource.

The World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) is a public-private partnership composed of World Bank officials and representatives of large multinational corporations, such as BP and ExxonMobil, as well as countries from US to Norway. Gas flaring is a problem in countries where oil is being produced that are without adequate facilities to process natural gas that comes to the surface with oil being pumped; flaring has provided a remedy for this natural byproduct. (see GGFR News) Efforts by the GGFR aim to commercialize such natural gas, rather than flare it.

The World Bank’s Bent Svensson says that if carbon dioxide emissions from flaring were stopped, then 13% of the total amount developed countries have agreed to reduce under the Kyoto Protocol would be met. The main barriers preventing such a stoppage, particularly in developing countries, are limited access to international gas markets, lack of resources to put the necessary gas infrastructure in place, and an undeveloped regulatory framework. (see Fact sheet: GGFR)

Despite its own resources, the GGFR cannot by itself implement the necessary infrastructure to completely reduce gas flaring—it relies on private development, but offers financial incentives for such investment. So far, the GGFR consists of member countries who comprise 50% of gas flaring countries, and those members have already agreed on a global standard for flaring reduction—the biggest achievement of the partnership thus far.

No comments: