Associated gas is the gas produced as a byproduct of the production of crude oil. Associated gas reserves are typically developed for the production of crude oil, which pays for the field development costs.
Nigeria is flagged as one of the identified top gas flaring nations. Algeria, Angola, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, the US and Venezuela are in that league also.
Nigeria flared an average of 11.1m3/bbl of gas in 2020, but has pledged an intention to end the burning of gas as a by-product of oil production by 2030, under its latest climate plan submitted to the United Nations.
With 7.83bcm in 2019, up from 7.44bcm in 2018, the World Bank ranked Nigeria as having the seventh-largest volume under the Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report (GCFR), despite having a low level of energy access.
Senior Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, Anna Belova, said: “It would do many countries, especially in Europe and Asia where natural gas prices are setting all-time records, a lot of good if oil and gas operators found the strategy to sell this gas rather than lose it – not only for the money but for meeting their CO2 targets too.”
Belova added: “The top 12 gas-flaring countries, flared almost 13 billion cubic feet of gas per day (bcfd). To put that into context, that amount of gas could easily keep the whole of Japan well supplied for a year. All of that power has simply gone to waste.”
Many countries flare gas because of lack of access to these markets, combined with the small volumes of gas produced at individual oil sites. The situation is further complicated by low domestic gas prices in most of the top flaring countries.
Belova said: “Reducing global gas flaring will require a multi-prong approach due to unique regional drivers that prioritize flaring over monetization of gas. Small-scale modular technologies, aimed at converting gas into liquids or chemicals, represent a logical choice for remote and distributed flaring sites.
“Given that technological solutions exist at multiple scales, regulatory and investor pressures are needed to drive investments, supported by voluntary environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments by operators to end routine flaring of gas globally.”