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EghtesadOnline: A project to collect 405 million cubic meters of associated petroleum gas per year from Maroun 3, Maroun 6 and Mansouri oilfields was unveiled on Sunday.

The project will be carried out with a total investment of $27 million in five years and the collected APG will be processed and used in other industrial processes, the Oil Ministry’s news agency Shana reported.

“Upon its completion, the project will help reduce 33 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to 3-4% of the total CO2 emission in Iran,” director general of the Oil Ministry’s Health, Safety and Environment Department said.

“Preserving the environment, especially of the southern and southwestern regions, which host several oil and gas fields, is among the priorities of the Oil Ministry,” Mazaher Ansari was also quoted as saying by Shana.

The project aims to reduce harmful emissions through the recovery and utilization of flare gas. The collected APG will be transferred to the production line in Maroun Petrochemical Company to be turned into value-added products. 

Located in Khuzestan Province, Maroun Oilfield is the second-largest oilfield of Iran. Discovered in 1963, the field contains estimated recoverable oil reserves of 22 billion barrels, making it the world's sixth biggest onshore oilfield in the world. It is currently producing approximately 520,000 barrels per day of crude oil.

Mansouri Oilfield is located 45 km southeast of Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan. It was discovered in 1963 and production started after installation work was completed in 1974. 

With oil reserves estimated at 3.3 billion barrels, the field’s oil production is about 110,000 barrels per day.



Flaring for Safety Measures

Flaring is the burning of natural gas that cannot be processed or sold. Flaring of APG is an important safety measure at oil and gas production sites, as it prevents industrial plant equipment from over-pressuring and exploding. However, burning high levels of APG is a major source of air pollution.

Iran has made progress in using flare gas either for power generation or as feed for refineries. Reports say the government has invested $5 billion in related projects.

Since 2008, Iran has prevented the flaring of over 12 billion cubic meters of APG, a source of global warming and waste of valuable fuel.

Although several environmental projects have been defined and carried out in recent years with the help of private companies to trap APG from oil and gas fields, Iran still has the highest rate of energy waste in the form of APG in the Middle East and ranks third in the world in terms of gas flaring after Russia and Nigeria.

According to official reports, about 17 bcm of gas are still flared and wasted annually.

Optimizing energy consumption and reducing environmental pollutants are major concerns in the oil and gas industries. Hence, an effective mechanism to curtail and harness flare gas is crucial.

The collected gas can be utilized in a number of ways after processing: sold and included in the natural-gas distribution networks, used for on-site electricity generation with engines or turbines, reinjected for secondary recovery and used in enhanced oil recovery, converted from gas-to-liquids producing synthetic fuels, or used as feedstock for the petrochemical industry.

According to a World Bank report, a massive amount of gas flares at oil production sites around the world burn approximately 140 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, emitting more than 300 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

If this amount of gas is used for power generation, it can provide about 750 billion kilowatts per hour of electricity, or more than the African continent’s current annual electricity consumption.