The World Bank estimates that over 150 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas associated with crude oil production is being flared and vented annually. This volume represents 5% of the global natural gas production and adds the equivalent of 400 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in annual emissions. It is also a loss of valuable resources which, in many cases, could be used for the benefits of local communities or for export projects. Overall, the loss of revenues through global gas flaring is estimated at approximately US$ 25 billion per year at $5.00 per MMBTU.

The Global Gas Flaring Reduction ("GGFR") public-private partnership was launched at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in August 2002 with the objective of facilitating governments and oil companies' efforts, under the World Bank's leadership, to reduce global gas flaring, improve energy efficiency, and mitigate impact on climate change.

Progress to date

  • Satellite estimates for global gas flaring show a decline in global gas flaring volumes from 171 bcm in 2005 to 134 bcm in 2010.

  • Global awareness and understanding of the gas flaring and venting issues: Major flaring countries have decided to tackle the flaring issue (i.e. Russia, Nigeria, Angola) and many companies' policies do not allow flaring in new oil developments.

  • Development of tools to monitor and measure the flaring worldwide: Satellite imaging of gas flares worldwide in partnership with NOAA, and Improvement of metering and estimating tools and methodologies

  • New Regulations on Gas Flaring in several countries: "No flaring" laws in Russia, Angola, Kazakhstan, and Gabon. New laws being progressed in Indonesia, Cameroon, Nigeria.

  • Gas Flaring Reduction Plans on the way in several countries: Canada, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan have completed their plans or are in progress to complete them, while Russia (KM), Qatar, Gabon are starting up.

  • Gas Utilization Projects have been identified in a number of countries: Angola, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Gabon, Cameroon, and others.

  • GGFR and its partners are improving Carbon finance methodologies of to improve the economics of gas flare reduction projects.

Public-private partnership aspects GGFR is a public-private partnership led by the World Bank. The Bank is in a unique position to approach and work with governments and companies as a trusted neutral third-party capable of facilitating the much needed collaboration among relevant public and private sector stakeholders. GGFR Partners' experiences are turned into best practices through its networks with partners. A major challenge in addressing gas flaring is that progress depends upon governments' and companies' investments in actual associated gas utilization projects.

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