People, Environment

DOE Plans to Eliminate Gas Flaring by 2019

DOE Plans to Eliminate Gas Flaring by 2019DOE Plans to Eliminate Gas Flaring by 2019

The amount of natural gas flaring at Iran's refineries will reach zero by 2019, the country's top environment chief predicted.

"Abolition of gas flaring is among the major environmental goals of the National Iranian Gas Company, which would help Iran in its mission to cut greenhouse gas emissions," Masoumeh Ebtekar also said during a ceremony to launch Iran's first "green flare" at the 1st South Pars Refinery in the city of Asalouyeh, Bushehr Province, on Tuesday.

The government has been obliged to curb the flaring of natural gas to 10% or lower by 2021, according to a law passed by the Majlis as part of the objectives outlined in the sixth five-year economic development plan (2017-22) , Mehr News Agency reported.

The Department of Environment, however, is aiming for a more ambitious target: the total elimination of gas flaring with an even tighter deadline.

Flaring is the burning of natural gas that cannot be processed or sold. The flaring of associated petroleum gases—or APG—is an important safety measure at many oil and gas production sites as it prevents industrial plant equipment from over-pressuring and exploding.

However, burning high levels of APG is seen as a major source of pollution because large amounts of harmful emissions are released in the environment through gas flaring.

In many oil and gas fields, producers deem it faster and cheaper to burn natural gas than to capture and use it, typically because they lack pipelines to economically transport the gas to market.

According to Climate Change News, in 2015, 147 billion cubic meters of natural gas were flared at oil production sites across the world—more than enough to meet the current annual electricity needs of the whole of Africa.

Iran is among the top three gas-flaring countries after Russia and Iraq. According to a report by Majlis Research Center, around 17 billion cubic meters of gas are burned off in Iran annually, which translates into a $4-6 billion loss for the treasury.

The Oil Ministry is studying ways of curbing APG levels: collecting it for injection into oil and gas wells to enhance recovery rate, converting APG into petroleum products such as natural gas liquids and using APG for electricity generation or as feedstock in the petrochemical industry.

South Pars Oil and Gas Company curbed the flaring of natural gas in the 3rd South Pars Refinery by 70% over the last fiscal year that ended on March 21. The amount was said to be higher than planned.


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