Does the “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” Initiative focus on certain types of flaring?
Yes. The Initiative pertains to routine flaring at oil production facilities, defined as flaring that occurs during the normal production of oil, and in the absence of sufficient facilities to utilize the gas on-site, dispatch it to a market, or re-inject it. The typical example this Initiative addresses is long-term continuous flaring for gas disposal where a gas market or injection capacity does not exist. The Initiative does not include non-routine flaring events. These can include: exploration and appraisal; initial well flow-back; well servicing; process upset; safety or emergency situations; equipment or gas handling infrastructure malfunction; or de-pressuring equipment for maintenance. The Initiative also excludes purge and pilot flaring necessary for safe flare operation, combustion of hazardous or polluting emissions, such as volatile organic compounds and hydrogen sulphide. Some flare gas sources (e.g. glycol treatment facilities, produced water treatment facilities) are so small and at such low pressure that it is environmentally more beneficial to utilize resources to reduce other flaring sources and other types of emission.
Why wait until 2030 to stop routine flaring, why not stop flaring right now?
The Initiative asks oil companies and governments to end ongoing routine flaring as soon as possible where it is economic to do so, and no later than by 2030. The actions needed to stop routine flaring are far-reaching and take considerable time and resources to plan and execute properly.
Isn't the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) doing the same as this new Initiative?
The Initiative sets clear targets for the future. GGFR's role is not to set such targets, but to facilitate flaring reduction activities to help meet the 2030 target. GGFR has an active work program in developing countries to reduce routine gas flaring, while deploying the associated gas for productive use, for example for energy access.
In some instances, this also means working with governments to develop the fundamentals, such as proper flare measurement practices, before the new policies and regulatory measures are developed.
Why isn't GGFR in the list of endorsers of the Initiative?
GGFR is a global partnership and it is up to the individual members to decide whether or not to endorse the Initiative. Almost all partners have already done so; those that have yet to endorse are still engaged in internal deliberations and assessment.
What are some common reasons why governments would NOT endorse the Initiative?
A majority of major oil-producing countries are expected to endorse the Initiative, but it takes time and dialogue to explain the consequences and nature of the commitment, and many governments need to follow a rigorous due diligence process before committing to the Initiative. As of the end 2021, around 60 percent of the global flaring volume is within government jurisdictions covered by the "Zero Routine Flaring by 2030" Initiative.
What are the common reasons why oil companies would NOT endorse the Initiative?
All major international oil companies have endorsed the initiative. We’re hopeful others will follow. Typically, companies follow a rigorous due diligence process before committing to the Initiative.
Besides the positive environmental impacts of abiding by the Initiative, what other impacts could endorsing have for governments and oil companies?
Instead of being flared, associated gas can be used in many different ways for the benefit of the local population. It can provide energy access to those who need it most; fuel power generation; provide liquid petroleum gases (LPGs) for heating or cooking; be used as feedstock for petrochemicals; and generate revenue through export.
Is "Zero Routine Flaring by 2030" a realistic goal?
Yes, it is. There will still be some flaring for safety reasons and in non-routine situations.
What will oil companies and governments do differently after they have endorsed the Initiative?
Oil companies and governments will ensure that new oil fields are developed without routine flaring. In addition, they will proactively address the ongoing "legacy" flaring to reduce or eliminate it at the earliest opportunity. The initiative also reinforces the idea that governments, oil companies, and institutions all need to work together to eliminate routine flaring on a global scale.
Are you forcing governments and oil companies into uneconomic investments under the Initiative?
The Initiative does not force governments or oil companies to invest in uneconomic projects. The Initiative aims to stimulate and create the right environment of cooperation between all stakeholders so that economic solutions are found through appropriate regulation, application of technologies, and financial arrangements.
What would it cost to eliminate routine flaring by 2030?
A desktop study by GGFR in 2018 estimated the cost to eliminate routine flaring of ~ US$100 billion. This estimate is in line with studies from Iraq, Russia, and Nigeria, albeit these studies are few in number, which indicate an average cost of around 6-9 US$/ft3/day (85 - 125 US$/t CO2/day) for onshore projects. (Note: This is the cost to install sufficient capacity to utilize 1 ft3 of flared gas). It is important to note this estimate does not include revenues from utilization of the gas.
How will we know that endorsing entities abide by the Initiative and that we can trust the reported flaring volumes?
Endorsing governments and oil companies will annually report their flaring and progress towards the Initiative. The World Bank will report the same, including the aggregated volumes on this website. (2017 was the first year reported data was published.) This is not to say it is an easy task to obtain accurate data, in part because the volume of most flaring is still estimated rather than metered. In addition, satellite monitoring will continue to provide estimates of flaring volumes for every country.
Is the Initiative legally binding?
The Initiative is not legally binding, but it establishes a clear public commitment monitored through a variety of means, including government and company reports and satellite observations. Endorsers have repeatedly communicated they take the commitment very seriously and is why it can take some time to reach a decision.
What will the consequences be for an endorser not abiding by the commitments under the Initiative?
The Initiative is voluntary and does not include any enforcement measures or penalties. However, its visibility and high global profile encourage continuing commitment to the Initiative.
What does the World Bank do to support the Initiative?
The World Bank (i) monitors the progress of the endorsers, (ii) continues to promote the Initiative and seek additional endorsements, and (iii) aids the implementation of the Initiative, particularly in developing countries. The World Bank is an active GGFR partner and continues its efforts to end routine flaring worldwide.
Do endorsing governments have gas flaring regulation in place that is consistent with the Initiative?
Many have regulations with the same objective, but not always in a manner that has proved effective. One of the objectives of this Initiative would be to support governments in development of effective regulations. But for new oil field developments it is simple: the government makes it clear in bidding rounds and concession documents that oil field development plans require utilization (or re-injection) of the associated gas.
Why doesn't the Initiative address flaring at other locations than oil production sites?
Flaring at oil production sites represents by far the largest share of global flaring. Efforts are therefore focused there, rather than being diluted on all flaring sources.
Why doesn't the Initiative also address non-routine and safety flaring?
Safety flaring is both small in volume and essential for the safe operation of oil and gas production facilities. Non-routine flaring is often unforeseen in nature. For example, it could be due to issues with the operation of the facility, and as such is hard to mitigate. Oil companies are, of course, strongly encouraged to take measures to minimize all types of flaring.
How much of global flaring do the current endorsers of the Initiative represent?
Based on satellite estimates and publicly reported flaring data, together the endorsers represent around 60 percent of global flaring.