WASHINGTON, DC, June 15, 2010 — In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase access to electricity, the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership (GGFR) today officially welcomed Finland’s Wärtsilä as the first associated partner to join the global effort to reduce the flaring or burning of natural gas associated to oil production.
Up until recently only oil-producing countries and companies were eligible to join the GGFR partnership. But a new GGFR charter now allows other relevant companies such as Wärtsilä, a technology provider, to join the partnership as an associated partner. An associated partner is neither an oil company nor an oil-producing country.
When drilling for crude oil, gas usually comes to the surface as well and is often vented or flared instead of used for private or commercial consumption due to various barriers such as lack of adequate infrastructure, markets or regulations. The World Bank-led partnership between governments and companies tries to overcome these challenges by jointly working to reduce the environmentally harmful waste of gas.
“We welcome Wärtsilä as the first GGFR associated partner and look forward to working with them to increase access to much needed electricity in developing countries around the world,” said Somit Varma, the World Bank Group’s Director for Oil, Gas, Mining and Chemicals. “Gas flaring harms the environment and wastes a valuable and cleaner resource that can be used for more productive purposes.”
The GGFR partnership estimates that globally some 150 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas are flared or wasted every year, adding about 400 million tons of greenhouse gases in annual emissions. This is equivalent to all the Certified Emission Reductions issued by the existing 2200 registered projects under the Kyoto mechanisms. The major flaring countries are Russia, Nigeria, Iran and Iraq.
“We are proud to become an associated partner of the GGFR. If associated gas can be used in power generation instead of being flared into the atmosphere, an oil-field’s emissions can be significantly reduced. At the same time, there are obvious economical benefits to be gained. As an associated partner of the GGFR, we will be able to contribute to reducing flaring through our know-how in power generation,” said Vesa Riihimäki, Group Vice President, Wärtsilä Power Plants.
Through Wärtsilä’s dual-fuel technology, associated gas can be converted to electricity and used for driving a compressor or a pump, instead of being continuously flared into the atmosphere. Wärtsilä's gas-diesel technology offers fuel flexibility, enabling the engines to run on any combination of liquid fuel and associated gas. This flexibility is essential for oil and gas companies operating in environments where the associated gas volumes are constantly changing.
GGFR is a public-private partnership of governments, state-owned companies and major international oil companies committed to reducing flaring and venting worldwide. The GGFR partnership facilitates and supports national efforts to use the associated gas that comes with oil production and thus reduce flaring, by tackling the lack of effective regulatory frameworks and the constraints on gas utilization, such as insufficient infrastructure and poor access to local and international energy markets, particularly in developing countries.
What is gas flaring?
When crude oil is brought to the surface from several kilometers below, gas associated with such oil extraction usually comes to the surface as well. If oil is produced in areas of the world which lack gas infrastructure or a nearby gas market, a significant portion of this associated gas may be released into the atmosphere, un-ignited (vented) or ignited (flared).
Wärtsilä is a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasizing technological innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximizes the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2009, Wärtsilä’s net sales totaled EUR 5.3 billion with more than 18,000 employees. The company has operations in 160 locations in 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki, Finland.
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, 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 (SNH), Canada (CIDA), Chad, Ecuador (PetroEcuador), Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Khanty-Mansijsysk (Russia), Mexico (Pemex), Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (Masdar), the United States (DOE) and Uzbekistan; BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ENI, ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil, Maersk Oil & Gas, Shell, Statoil, TOTAL, Qatar Petroleum; OPEC Secretariat, European Union, the World Bank Group; Wärtsilä.