By Andy Sambidge
Major oil producer joins World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership
Kuwait has officially joined the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) partnership in an effort to further reduce emissions from the burning of natural gas associated with oil production in the Middle East.
Kuwait, represented in the partnership by Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), a subsidiary of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, has reduced flaring from 17 percent down to 1.75 percent of its gas production during 2005-06 and 2010-11 respectively.
This reduction has increased revenues by $2.7bn, KOC executives said.
Reduced gas flaring also resulted in lesser consumption of liquid fuels and reduction in LNG import volumes.
By cooperating with GGFR, KOC said it expects to reduce flaring to less than one percent of associated gas production at the earliest possible.
“Gas flaring reduction is a vital contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency and mitigating climate change,” said S Vijay Iyer, director of the World Bank’s Sustainable Energy Department.
“We welcome Kuwait into this partnership and look forward to achieving with them further flaring reductions, building on the impressive results already achieved by KOC.”
Kuwait is the third country in the Middle East to join the GGFR initiative, following Iraq and Qatar.
The GGFR, a public-private initiative of 30 major oil-producing countries and companies, aims to overcome the challenges for the utilisation of associated gas, including lack of regulations and markets for associated gas utilization.
Global gas flaring, estimated in 2010 at 134 billion cubic metres (bcm), not only wastes gas energy, but also accounts for about 360 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, according to official data.
Recent satellite data showed that 30 bcm were flared in the Middle East in 2010, which amounts to 75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of 15 million cars.
Kuwait Oil Company, at its current flaring level of about 1.5 percent of its gas production, is reckoned to be one of lowest flaring oil companies.
Sami Al-Rushaid, managing director, Kuwait Oil Company, said: “Kuwait Oil Company’s phenomenal achievements in Gas Flaring reduction were initially driven by environmental concerns, but it soon became evident that millions of dollars in savings could be accessed by reducing a huge amount of waste of scarce gas resources.
“These results were driven by the dedicated and well-coordinated efforts of various departments across the company.”
Oil was found in commercial quantities in Kuwait’s Burgan Field in 1938, and first crude export was made in June 1946. Kuwait also discovered non-associated natural gas in 2006 in the deep Jurassic reservoirs at Rahiya, Mutriba, Um Niga, and other fields.