Nigeria, nine others account for 75% of gas flaring – World Bank

Nigeria and nine other countries accounted for 75 percent of global gas flaring last year, the World Bank said in a new report on Thursday.

It said seven of the top 10 flaring countries, namely Russia, Iraq, Iran, the United States, Venezuela, Algeria, and Nigeria, had held this position consistently for the last 10 years.

The Washington-based multilateral institution said the remaining three, namely Mexico, Libya, and China, had shown significant flaring increases in recent years.

“In 2021, the top 10 flaring countries (on an absolute volume basis) accounted for 75 percent of all gas flaring and 50 percent of global oil production,” the report said.

Nigeria was ranked 7th in flare volume as flaring reduced by 31 percent between 2012 and 2021, while flare intensity increased by 10 percent in the same period.

The report said Nigeria had made significant progress in flare reduction since observations began, in no small part due to the commissioning and startup of several major projects to recover and export associated gas, including associated gas processing and export via the Bonny liquefied natural gas plant.

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“However, flaring intensity has increased as production has declined over the last 10 years. The satellite data suggests that, while the largest flaring fields have been addressed, there remain many smaller, more disparate fields where flare elimination and gas utilisation is more challenging,” the World Bank said.

This issue, according to the report, is not unique to Nigeria and is likely to be experienced by many other oil-producing countries as they advance efforts to eliminate routine flaring.

It said: “When we consider flaring intensity, fragile, conflict-affected, and insecure countries, such as Venezuela, Syria, and Yemen are among the worst performers, flaring more gas per barrel of oil produced than any other country. The intensity perspective also suggests there are opportunities to improve flaring performance in oil-producing countries such as Algeria, the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Turkmenistan.

“Considering again the top 10 flaring countries on a volume basis, Russia, Iraq, the United States, Nigeria, and Mexico have all committed to the World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 Initiative, which commits governments and companies to (a) not routinely flare gas in any new oil field development, and (b) to end routine flaring in existing oil fields as soon as possible and no later than 2030.”

The World Bank, however, said over the past decade, only the US had successfully improved the flaring intensity of its oil production.