Uganda: Anything But Gas Flaring, Please


Photo: Wikipedia, Public domain
So Wasteful and Inelegant
Gas flaring has apparently been approved by the government of Uganda for a new oil project by British oil exploration company Tullow Oil. What a wasteful practice! We're constantly talking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving energy, doing more with less... And we're still allowing more gas flaring? I understand that it might sometimes be technically challenging to do something with the natural gas that is also found when doing oil exploration, but it still seems like a low-hanging fruit for environmental protection. Liquefaction infrastructure is probably too costly, but there's surely a way to pump it back underground. Or can't it at least be used in local gas-fired power plant so that the heat generated by burning it at the very least benefit someone (via conversion to electricity)? Even that might be a problem in some regions, but maybe with some creative policy it could be done (sell exploration contracts under condition that a way will be found to use or sequester the natural gas).

The World Bank estimates that over 100 billion cubic metres of natural gas are flared or vented annually, an amount worth approximately 30.6 billion dollars, equivalent to the combined annual gas consumption of Germany and France, twice the annual gas consumption of Africa, three quarters of Russian gas exports (source)

There's a glut of natural gas these days, but someday when it becomes scarce, we'll wish we hadn't flared so much of it. In fact, it's probably a good idea to start using more of it right now to displace gasoline; CNG cars release significantly less CO2 and smog-forming tailpipe emissions than gas cars.

Via Green Inc
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