Iraq’s efforts to reduce gas flaring is critically dependent on increasing processing capacity around the Basra petroleum hub in the south, where the five largest oil fields account for 65% of currently flared gas volumes.
Iraq’s associated gas has significant liquid petroleum gas (LPG) content, which can be compressed and bottled as propane and butane for household use in cooking and heating. As a result of increased gas processing by BGC, and having faced acute shortages of LPG until recently, Iraq was able to restart its gas condensate and LPG exports in 2016, bringing in much needed revenue.
There is also the environmental damage from Iraq’s gas flares. Currently, the country’s annual CO2 emissions are about 140 million tons. Reduction in flaring and the equivalent displacement of oil, heavy fuel oil, and diesel-fueled power generation by natural gas would decrease Iraq’s CO2 emissions annually by millions of tons.
“Considering Iraq’s continuing security issues, it is commendable that the government plans for a future without routine flaring and is willing to make a commitment by endorsing the “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” Initiative. If Iraq can commit to ending this wasteful industry practice, others should be able to as well,” said Bjorn Hamso, GGFR’s Program Manager.