Oil-producing countries yet to address their gas flaring may begin to feel there are no more excuses.
In a remarkable and bold decision, the government of Iraq recently endorsed the “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” Initiative, (ZRF), which means the country has committed to not routinely flare associated gas in any new oil fields and will work to end routine flaring in existing oil fields as soon as possible and no later than 2030.
Launched in 2015 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, the ZRF Initiative is designed to end a 150-year-old oil industry practice that is responsible for emitting more than 300 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Gas flaring also wastes a valuable source of energy that could be put to productive use, particularly in countries where many people lack access to electricity.
"Even in the most difficult circumstances we recognize that Iraq must ensure its resources are managed sustainably for future generations. Flaring is not only bad for the environment, it represents several billion dinars going up in smoke."
-- Dr. Hamed Younis Saleh, Deputy Minister of Oil for Gas Affairs
The latest satellite data released by the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) shows that Iraq’s gas flaring has increased dramatically. Just four years ago the country was flaring about 12 bcm of gas annually. However, in 2015 the country flared close to 16 bcm, making it the second-largest gas flaring country in the world.