Study sees ‘flaring’ wastage in natural gas production

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A study by GE estimates that five per cent of the world’s natural gas production is wasted by burning or ’flaring’ unused gas each year — an amount equivalent to 30 per cent of consumption in the European Union and 23 per cent in the US.

Gas flaring emits 400 million metric tons of CO2 annually, the same as 77 million automobiles, without producing useful heat or electricity. Worldwide, billions of cubic metres of natural gas are wasted annually, typically as a by-product of oil extraction.

The study also said that the technologies required for a solution do exist. Depending on region, these may include power generation, gas re-injection (for enhanced oil recovery, gathering and processing), pipeline development and distributed energy solutions.

’Power generation, gas reinjection and distributed energy solutions can eliminate the wasteful practice of burning unused gas. This fuel can be used to generate electricity for the world’s homes and factories,’ said Michael Farina, programme manager at GE Energy and author of the study.

’With greater global attention and concerted effort — including partnerships, sound policy and innovative technologies — large-scale gas flaring could be largely eliminated in as little as five years,’ he added.