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Associated natural gas is often flared (burned) during oil production, routinely or as the result of an unscheduled event. Gas flaring is a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from upstream operations. Successful flare reduction helps conserve a valuable natural resource that should be used for productive purposes, such as generating power, and can help lower emissions.

This Flaring management guidance, developed by Ipieca, IOGP and GGFR in partnership, outlines new developments in flaring management and reduction, and examines industry experiences with eliminating flaring, new technologies, business models, operational improvements and regulatory policy. It also features case studies and examples of positive change.

It aims to:

  • Raise awareness and understanding, and drive the adoption of flaring best practices
  • Identify and explore options for using technology to reduce flaring
  • Explore market approaches and business models for monetizing associated gas
  • Review and identify effective regulatory frameworks that facilitate reduced flaring
  • Document case studies and share best practices in flare reduction

The guidance contains three main sections, as follows:

  1. An introduction presents core concepts, definitions and the wider context
  2. A section for oil and gas operators, outlines a framework for flaring management solutions that can be employed
  3. A section for governments and regulatory bodies shows ways to encourage and incentivize productive use of associated gas instead of flaring

Case studies of successful flaring reduction projects, technical support material and an extensive list of references are also included in the appendices.

Title Format Type

Flaring management guidance

PDF

Full guidance (~ 164 pages)

Section 1: Flaring management - an introduction

PDF

(~ 19 pages)

Section 2: Flaring management - a framework for the oil and gas industry

PDF

(~ 40 pages)

Section 3: A framework for governments and regulatory bodies

PDF

(~ 30 pages)

Appendix: Case Studies

PDF

(~ 19 pages)

Annexes

PDF

(~ 23 pages)

Abbreviations and acronyms

PDF

(~ 4 pages)

References

PDF

(~ 15 pages)

Summary PDF

(~ 8 pages)

  • Petronas
  • Wintershall Dea
  • Ipieca
  • IOGP
  • GGFR
  • Petronas
    'The Ipieca-IOGP-GGFR Flaring management guidance for the oil and gas industry (2021) is a valuable resource to help the energy industry move toward a net-zero carbon emissions future. For PETRONAS, advancement in flaring reduction technologies is one of the key drivers for us to solve flaring and reduce emissions while creating value. This will enable us to deliver sustainable energy solutions that fuel progress, support economic growth and development, in a responsible manner.'

    Chen Kah Seong
    Vice President – Upstream Centre of Excellence, PETRONAS
  • Wintershall Dea
    'Two things are absolutely clear: gas flaring is one of the main sources of CO2 and methane emissions in the upstream sector. And second: that practice has to stop as soon as possible. The good news is that it is perfectly possible to end routine flaring and technologies to reduce non routine flaring are increasingly becoming available. This guidance demonstrates that a joint industry approach and the implementation of new technologies are essential building blocks for that crucial task.'

    Mario Mehren
    Chief Executive Officer, Wintershall Dea
  • Ipieca
    'By eliminating routine flaring and instead putting the gas to productive use, the industry can significantly reduce its climate impact and support sustainable growth. Building a shared understanding of the benefits of flare reduction among owners, operators, financiers and governments is key to encouraging them to work together to reduce flaring and use the gas as an energy source.'

    Brian Sullivan
    Executive Director, Ipieca
  • IOGP
    'In order to improve our industry’s climate footprint, we cannot accept 400 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions to be flared annually. Reducing or eliminating routine flaring is not only is an instrumental enabler, it is a must-have to achieve a low carbon future. This guidance provides the industry with a powerful tool to drive adoption of flaring best practices, including a section for governments and regulatory bodies that provides concrete ways in which to encourage and incentivize productive use of associated gas instead of flaring.'

    Iman Hill
    Executive Director, IOGP
  • GGFR
    'Every year, gas flaring releases over 400 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions, and as we seek to build back better following a global pandemic, urgent action is needed to end this practice. This guidance highlights the enormous contribution governments and companies could make by committing to ending routine flaring in their climate action plans and Nationally Determined Contributions.'

    Zubin Bamji
    Program Manager, Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR), World Bank


Case studies

Explore high-level summaries in the drop-down boxes below, or download the PDF for detailed case studies, including background information, project descriptions, figures and outcomes.

Turning onshore gas into power in the Congo

Eni signed an agreement with the government of the Republic of Congo in 2007 to develop two electricity power stations and eliminate gas flaring.

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This included constructing an entirely new power station and revamping an existing station. By utilizing more than 70 million standard cubic feet per day of gas that would formerly have been flared, the power stations now provide 60% of the country’s installed capacity and give access to electricity for approximately 700,000 people.

Qatargas

Reducing LNG boil-off gas flaring

Qatargas began flare reduction operations at the jetty boil-off gas recovery facility at Ras Laffan Port in 2014.

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The facility collects boil-off gas from LNG ships, compresses it, and sends it to LNG producers to be consumed as fuel or converted into LNG. By 2018 flaring had been reduced by more than 95%, relative to the 2012 baseline, saving 29 billion standard cubic feet of gas per year.

Using innovative technology to upgrade flash gas

Shell installed technology in 2019 in its Permian Basin (Texas) asset to reduce oxygen concentrations in oil tank vapors.

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As a result the gas now meets pipeline quality specifications for off-site sales, allowing it to be monetized and reducing flaring by 40%. Shell has now incorporated this technology in its standard design for central processing facilities in the Permian Basin, due to its proven performance, high reliability, low maintenance, modularity and great economics.

Using new low-cost technology to capture offshore gas

PETRONAS introduced a novel, low-cost surface jet pump technology to capture associated gas in an offshore legacy field where using conventional booster compressor solutions was challenging due to limited deck space and not commercially viable.

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Since 2019 the jet pumps have successfully captured 5–7 million standard cubic feet per day of associated gas that was previously flared routinely from the source wells.

Integrating associated gas capture during field development

In 2020 Wintershall Dea successfully conducted production pilot projects in the onshore Vaca Muerta shale play in Argentina.

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The initial program began in mid-2020 with the drilling of 20 to 30 wells. The company connected an extended (i.e. long-term) well-test facility to a third-party gas treatment plant, installed gas compression facilities and new pipeline capacity—all as an integral part of field development to eliminate routine gas flaring.

Explore the case studies in detail

Download the Appendix of case studies for contextual information, project descriptions, figures and outcomes.

Download the PDF