WASHINGTON, D.C., May 4, 2010 — In an effort to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions worldwide, the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership (GGFR) and Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multifaceted renewable energy initiative, are co-hosting the first Middle East & North Africa Forum on Flaring Reduction and Gas Utilization to be held in Muscat, Oman, on May 10th -11th.
The forum will bring together representatives of oil and gas companies, technology and service providers, financiers and regional government agencies to analyze the specific challenges and opportunities of flaring reduction projects across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and understand how carbon finance could make flaring reduction projects more economically viable.
Gas flaring, the process of burning-off associated gas from oil wells and hydrocarbon processing plants either as a means of disposal or as a safety measure, is today recognized as a major environmental problem, contributing some 400 million tons of CO2 emissions worldwide. It also has major economic implications, with significant volumes of a valuable natural resource being wasted.
MENA is the second major flaring region of associated gas in the world. The region flares about 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of associated gas (20 per cent of total global flaring), enough to feed a 20 MT LNG plant, or six medium LNG trains. Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait are amongst the top 20 flaring countries in the world. Over the past few years several of these countries have demonstrated a strong commitment to tackle the challenges surrounding gas flaring reduction.
“This MENA forum is extremely important, as gas flaring has significant environmental and economic consequences that need to be addressed,” says Paulo de Sa, manager of the World Bank’s Oil, Gas and Mining Policy division. “Reducing flaring and increasing the utilization of natural gas is a concrete contribution to energy efficiency and climate change mitigation.”
Sam Nader, Director of Masdar’s Carbon Management Unit, adds: “The forum, the first of its kind in the Middle East, will allow us to examine the regulatory and commercial barriers that prevent the implementation of gas flaring reduction projects; and highlight best practices and case studies that have been able to overcome barriers to gas recovery and utilization, including the role of the Clean Development Mechanism to enhance the viability of such projects.”
Flaring or burning of natural gas occurs most often in remote areas where there is no gas transportation infrastructure or local gas markets. Since its inception in 2002 the GGFR partnership has encouraged more vigorous efforts to eliminate flaring, such as re-injecting it into the ground to boost oil production, converting it into liquefied natural gas for shipment, transporting it to markets via pipelines, or using it on site for generation of electricity.
The regional forum, which is also supported by authorities of the Sultanate of Oman and sponsored by several companies, will bring together relevant stakeholders in a platform for dialogue, best practices exchange, and potential business opportunities. Some of the sponsors include: Petroleum Development Oman, Oman LNG, Qalhat LNG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Masdar is Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted initiative advancing the development, commercialisation and deployment of renewable and alternative energy technologies and solutions. Masdar is driven by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC), a wholly owned company of the government of Abu Dhabi through the Mubadala Development Company.
About the World Bank
Comprised of 185 member governments, the Word Bank’s primary focus is to help the world’s poorest people and the poorest countries. The World Bank uses its financial resources, its staff, and extensive experience to help developing countries reduce poverty, increase economic growth, and improve their quality of life.
Launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in August 2002, the GGFR public-private partnership brings around the table representatives of governments of oil-producing countries, state-owned companies and major international oil companies so that they can together overcome the barriers to reducing gas flaring by sharing global best practices and implementing country specific programs in gas flaring countries, with funding provided in part by the European Union, the World Bank Group, oil companies and donor countries.
GGFR partners and donors
The GGFR partnership, managed and facilitated by a team at the World Bank in Washington, DC, includes the following partners: Algeria (Sonatrach), Angola (Sonangol), Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Canada (CIDA), Chad, Ecuador (PetroEcuador), Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Khanty-Mansijsysk (Russia), Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, the United States (DOE) and Uzbekistan; BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ENI, ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil, Maersk Oil & Gas, Shell, Statoil, TOTAL, Qatar Petroleum, Pemex; OPEC Secretariat, European Union, Masdar, the World Bank and the IFC.