Fighting Gas Flares in Uzbekistan
June 18, 2013
Gas flaring – the process through which natural gas is burned or flared at oil fields without being put to use – has gained significant attention in recent years with global warming becoming a major concern and the international community examining ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by utilizing cleaner sources of energy such as natural gas.
In Uzbekistan, there is no dearth of this resource, and the country has begun taking a closer look at utilizing it better in recent years, through the Recovery and Utilization of Associated Gases Project.
Uzbekneftegaz National Oil and Gas Company, which became a partner of the World Bank Group led Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) in June 2008, is also changing its practices on gas flaring, adopting a proactive approach to utilize flared gas.
The Bank’s GGFR public-private partnership was launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. GGFR supports the efforts of oil producing countries and companies to increase the use of associated natural gas and thus reduce flaring and venting, which wastes valuable resources and harms the environment.
Uzbekistan is making important efforts to increase the utilization of associated gas and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from flaring. We look forward to seeing more win-win results for the benefit of the Uzbek people and the environment.
Kashkadarya province in Uzbekistan, with one of the biggest oil and gas condensate deposits, is a good example. The deposits were discovered and operations tested in 1983, but intensive production started only after Uzbekistan became an independent state.
The Kokdumalak field development in the Kashkadarya province faced gas flaring challenges, similar to other large oil and gas deposits. It got more serious with time, not only because of the increase in oil production, but also due to falling reservoir pressure and as a result, the transition to an open system of well production accumulation and introducing gas-lift oil production.
A special company, Kokdumalakgaz, was established to develop an associated gases utilization project on Kokdumalak. Several technical solutions were considered to recover and utilize the flared gas, including electricity generation. As a result, it was decided to create a utilization system based on compression of the associated gases using booster compressor stations with centrifugal machines.
It was decided to phase out the gas flaring project in order to optimize the process. All available flaring was classified by pressure:
Group 1: High pressure gases – 1.0 MPa; Group 2 – medium pressure gases – 0.5 MPa; and Group 3 – low pressure gases – 0.1 MPa.
The first phase envisaged utilizing the high pressure gases, compressing them further and transmitting the gas in a dedicated pipeline to a gas treatment facility and later, to the gas transportation network. This phase was implemented in 2005. The same process was implemented for the second group in 2007 and the third group in 2011.
The implementation of this multi-stage project saved 17 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas per day or 5.5 bcm annually. This resulted in the reduction of almost 1.5 million tons of CO2 emissions equivalent. The project was also recognized as one of the best gas flaring reduction projects at the GGFR Global Forum held in London in October 2012, where Uzbekneftegaz received the 2012 GGFR Excellence Award for its progress in flaring reduction.
Furthermore, Uzbekneftegaz has started preparations for another gas flaring reduction project at the South Kemachi cluster. The new project aims to recover and utilize low pressure gases and will help save 800 mcm of associated gases.
Currently, a pre-feasibility study and bidding process are being developed for the new project. Uzbekneftegaz plans to strengthen cooperation with GGFR in order to tackle challenges such as utilization of gas with high content of acid components and flaring reduction in remote areas.
“Uzbekistan is making important efforts to increase the utilization of associated gas and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from flaring,” said Bent Svensson, manager of the GGFR partnership. “We look forward to seeing more win-win results for the benefit of the Uzbek people and the environment.”
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