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EghtesadOnline: Associated petroleum gas burning out of 10 gas refineries operational at the giant South Pars Gas Field off the Persian Gulf decreased by 21.6% last year compared to the year before.

According to South Pars Gas Complex — the main operator of refineries at the gas field — SPGC is expected to curb natural gas flaring to zero by 2022 within the framework of "South Pars Sustainable Development Plan" -- a five-year plan of action to curtail gas flaring in the world's largest gas reservoir shared between Iran and Qatar.

The scheme will help Iran to move forward on in fulfilling its pledge to cut back greenhouse gas emissions by preventing significant amounts of associated gas from being released into the atmosphere, IRNA reported.

Iran burned as much as 56 million cubic meters of gas per week in 2008, roughly equal to a standard South Pars phase in a day. Flaring declined to 5 million cubic meters per week in 2017 and now is 3 mcm per week, Financial Tribune reported.

Associated petroleum gas, or APG, is natural gas found with deposits of petroleum. Flaring, which is burning of natural gas, is an important safety measure at many oil and gas production site, as it prevents industrial plant equipment from over-pressuring and exploding. However, burning high levels of APG is a major source of pollution. 

Every year, approximately 140-150 billion cubic meters of natural gas flare into the atmosphere globally, causing more than 300 million tons of carbon dioxide to be emitted into the environment.

According to the World Bank, that amount of gas is equivalent to three quarters of Russia’s gas exports, or almost one-third of the European Union’s gas consumption.

There are different ways of curbing APG levels, some of which are collecting it for injection into oil and gas wells to enhance recovery rate, converting APG into petroleum products such as natural gas liquids and using APG for electricity generation or as feedstock in the petrochemical industry.

Russia is the world’s largest gas flaring country, flaring about 21 bcm annually, followed by Iraq (16 bcm), Iran (12 bcm), the US (12 bcm) and Venezuela (9 bcm).

Flaring also wastes a natural resource that can be put to productive use or conserved (by re-injecting it into the ground). For example, if the 140 bcm of gas flared annually was used for power generation, it would provide about 750 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, more than the African continent’s current annual electricity consumption.

South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf, consisting of offshore and onshore facilities, provides almost two-thirds of the country's natural gas demand.

 

Iran South Pars Persian Gulf gas flaring Associated petroleum gas refineries