Natural gas is the cheapest and fastest way for most countries to meet their growing need for energy while reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality. As an abundantly available and accessible energy source, natural gas can meet global demand for at least the next 250 years. At the same time, natural gas is cleaner than many other fuels, emitting 50 percent less CO2 than coal.
The advantages of natural gas for power production are many. In addition to the above, natural gas plants are cheaper to build and operate than other types of power plants. Natural gas is also the best option for supporting intermittent renewable power generation.
In an increasingly electrified world, the efficiency and reliability of natural gas has the potential to power economic growth for generations to come. It is available when and where it is needed, but only if sensible and unbiased policies regulations are established.
By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach nine billion people, nearly one-third more than today. Amid this growth in population, energy demand is likely to double alongside rising living standards. Meanwhile, emissions need to be reduced significantly to mitigate the most serious effects of climate change.
Natural gas is the energy will help address these issues. It can be used for power generation, via combined cycle gas and cogeneration power plants, as well as in micro turbine installations - to keep the lights on all across the world.
Flaring of gas contributes to climate change and impacts the environment through emissions of CO2, black carbon and other pollutants. It also wastes a valuable energy resource that could be used to advance the sustainable development of producing countries. For example, if this amount of gas were used for power generation, it could provide about 750 billion kWh of electricity, or more than the African continent’s current annual electricity consumption. While associated gas cannot always be used to produce power, it can often be utilized in a number of other productive ways or conserved (re-injected into an underground formation).
The “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” initiative, introduced by the World Bank, brings together governments, oil companies, and development institutions who recognise the flaring situation described above is unsustainable from a resource management and environmental perspective, and who agree to cooperate to eliminate routine flaring no later than 2030.
The Initiative pertains to routine flaring and not to flaring for safety reasons or non-routine flaring, which nevertheless should be minimized. Routine flaring of gas is flaring during normal oil production operations in the absence of sufficient facilities or amenable geology to re-inject the produced gas, utilize it on-site, or dispatch it to a market. Venting is not an acceptable substitute for flaring.
For hundreds of years, energy has meant growth which has led to economic and social wellbeing. Our challenge for the future is to achieve this in a clean and sustainable manner. We are all committed to playing our part.
How we make a difference
The WPC was in Paris for COP21 to put forward its point of view. It supports and encourages governments and all stakeholders in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and manage the risks of climate change. The WPC also appreciates that these stakeholders have a challenge ahead to meet their growing population's energy demands and support economic development in their countries.
Natural gas can be the fuel that provides the secure and reliable power that is a fundamental need of any modern society, but today much of it is wasted. Methane saved from flaring could be utilised for power generation, for use as a compressed or liquefied gas or converted to chemicals particularly in Africa.
showcases how the oil and gas industry is helping to bring people out of energy poverty in order to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 on energy access.
highlights the oil and gas sector's technical knowhow to develop solutions which will have an important part to play in contributing to a sustainable energy future.
Zero Routine Flaring by 2030
Governments that endorse the Initiative will provide a legal, regulatory, investment, and operating environment that is conducive to upstream investments and to the development of viable markets for utilization of the gas and the infrastructure necessary to deliver the gas to these markets. This will provide companies the confidence and incentive as a basis for investing in flare elimination solutions.
Oil companies that endorse the Initiative will develop new oil fields they operate according to plans that incorporate sustainable utilization or conservation of the field's associated gas without routine flaring. Oil companies with routine flaring at existing oil fields they operate will seek to implement economically viable solutions to eliminate this legacy flaring as soon as possible, and no later than 2030.
Development institutions that endorse the Initiative will facilitate cooperation and implementation, and consider the use of financial instruments and other measures, particularly in their client countries. They will endeavor to do so also in client countries that have not endorsed the Initiative.