|August 30, 2007|
Natural Gas Flaring -- 170 billion cubic meters lost
|Washington, D.C., USA (GLOBE-Net) --- The first globally consistent survey of gas flaring has been conducted using satellite data, and a series of national and global estimates of gas flaring volumes have been produced covering a twelve-year period spanning 1995 through 2006. |
The survey, which was commissioned and funded by the World Bank's Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership (GGFR), was executed by scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Gas flaring estimates, which were produced for sixty countries or areas around the world, show that global gas flaring has remained largely stable over the past twelve years, in the range of 150 to 170 billion cubic meters BCM.
Since this is the first study of gas flaring using satellite observations, scientists warn that these preliminary results should be used with caution, as there still are several sources of error and uncertainty, including variations in flare efficiency, mis-identification of flares, non-continuous sampling, and environmental effects. According to the satellite observations, 22 countries have increased gas flaring over the past 12 years. These include: Azerbaijan, Chad, China, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Myanmar, Oman, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Russia (excluding Khanty Mansiysk region), Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.
Thirteen countries had peaks in gas flaring between the end points of the time series -- but nearly the same quantity of gas flaring in recent years as in the mid-1990. This includes Angola, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Irish Sea (UK), Mexico, Tunisia, Venezuela and Vietnam. Canada's gas flaring for 2006 was estimated at.503 bcm
The satellite observations show that 16 countries have decreased gas flaring from 1995 to 2006, including Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, Cameroon, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, North Sea, Norway, Peru, Syria, UAE and USA (offshore). And nine countries have had largely stable gas flaring across those 12 years. These include Australia, Ecuador, Gabon, Iran, Kuwait, Malaysia, Khanty-Mansiysk (Russian Federation), Romania, and Trinidad.
The authors used low-light imaging data from the U.S. Air Force Defence Meteorological Satellite Program to assess the volumes of gas burned in flares, which are visible in observations of night-time lights under cloud-free conditions. Current and planned satellite sensors will continue to provide data suitable for estimating gas flaring volumes for decades to come. GGFR encourages on-site monitoring as well to help track changes in gas flaring volumes and to report progress in reducing flaring.
The authors of the report note there are a number of sources of uncertainty and error in the results of this study. To the extent to which these errors are present in the calibration data these sources of uncertainty contribute to the +/- 1.61 BCM prediction interval (margin of error). The main sources of error or uncertainty include: errors in the reported flare volume data; non-continuous sampling; mis-identification of flares; variations in flare efficiency; and environmental effects.
To access the report and country-specific data, please visit.
To learn more about the GGFR partnership and gas flaring, please visit.
For More Information: World Bank