Capturing economic and social value from hydrocarbon gas flaring and venting: solutions and actions
This second paper on hydrocarbon gas flaring and venting builds on our first, which evaluated the economic and social cost (SCAR) of wasted natural gas. These emissions must be reduced urgently for natural gas to meet its potential as an energy-transition fuel under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and to improve air quality and health.
Wide-ranging initiatives and solutions exist already; the selection of the most suitable ones is situation-dependent. We present solutions and actions in a four-point (‘Diamond’) model involving: (1) measurement of chemicals emitted, (2) accountability and transparency of emissions through disclosure and reporting, (3) economic deployment of technologies for (small-scale) gas monetization, and (4) an ‘all-of-government’ approach to regulation and fiscal measures.
Combining these actions in an integrated framework can end routine flaring and venting in many oil and gas developments. This is particularly important for low- and middle-income countries: satellite data since 2005 show that 85 per cent of total gas flared is in developing countries. Satellite data in 2017 identified location and amount of natural gas burned for 10,828 individual flares in 94 countries. Particular focus is needed to improve flare quality and capture natural gas from the 1 per cent ‘super-emitter’ flares responsible for 23 per cent of global natural gas flared.