A new report by the World Bank Group released on Wednesday noted the great efforts made by Nigeria over the last 15 years to reduce incidences of gas flaring in the country by 70%.
Although the country is still among the top seven gas flaring nations of the world in the last nine years since the first satellite was launched in 2012, the report, the World Bank’s 2020 Global Gas Flaring Tracker, said the West African nation, flared just 7bcm in 2020.
The according to the report, listed other major gas flaring nations as Russia, Iraq, Iran and the United States, also includes Algeria, and Venezuela, saying all seven collectively produce 40% of the world’s oil each year, but account for roughly two-thirds (65%) of global gas flaring.
Last year, the report a leading global and independent indicator of gas flaring, noted, the U.S. reported 32% fall in gas flaring from 2019 to 2020, partly due to an 8% drop in oil production and the construction of infrastructure to use gas that would otherwise be flared. It found that between 2019 to 2020, gas flaring dropped by 5%, despite which the world still flared enough gas to power sub-Saharan Africa.
“This trend is indicative of ongoing, though differing, challenges facing these countries,” it added, noting some marked improvements in countries like the United States which performed particularly well in 2020.
It also acknowledged efforts by the greater Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug (KMAO) region of Russia, which achieved significant progress reducing gas flaring volumes by nearly 80%, to just over 4bcm last year.
It however described last year as an unprecedented year for the oil and gas industry and a historic time for the world, following the outbreak of the novel COVID-19 pandemic that dampened oil demand, prices and production, following which oil-dependent countries experienced negative impacts on their revenues and national budgets.
“For example, the United States has thousands of individual flare sites, difficult to connect to a market, while a few high flaring oil fields in East Siberia in the Russian Federation are extremely remote, lacking the infrastructure to capture and transport the associated gas,” it added.
Gas flaring, it noted, “the burning of natural gas associated with oil extraction,” which occurs due to issues such as market and economic constraints, lack of appropriate regulation and political will results in a range of pollutants released into the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide, methane and black carbon (soot).
According to the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report, oil production declined by 8%, from 82m barrels per day (b/d) in 2019 to 76mb/d last year, while global gas flaring reduced by 5% (from 150bn cubic meters (bcm) in 2019 to 142bcm in 2020.