Gas flaring refers to the combustion of excess natural gas under controlled conditions at oil wells and oil production and processing facilities. Generally, natural gas that is brought to the surface but cannot easily be used is “flared” (burned for disposal).
A majority of natural gas flaring is observed in upstream production areas where flaring is used during new well drilling and at refineries to prevent an explosive buildup of gases. The lack of direct market access and insufficient gas gathering and transportation infrastructure are other major reasons for ongoing flaring across global regions.
Gas flaring is considered a wasteful practice as the amount of natural gas burned can either be used productively or conserved for future use. Furthermore, natural gas flaring poses a serious threat to the environment globally because it creates noise and air pollution.
Instead of wasting gas through flaring each year, using the flared gas responsibly will benefit local communities, reduce an operator’s carbon footprint, and turn a wasted by-product into a revenue stream.
Often, flaring results from economic limitations but has potential for economic gain—improved utilization of associated gas enhances environmental stability and reduces lost market opportunities.
Overcoming the barriers to flaring reduction is essential for improving energy access and increasing energy security.