A recent Commentary issued by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) highlighted the Kingdom’s gas flaring mitigation experience.
The Commentary comes under the center’s initiative which explores Saudi Arabia’s gas demand, domestic gas supply, and natural gas trade in the global context.
KAPSARC’s paper entitled “Saudi Arabia’s Gas Flaring Mitigation Experience” identified four reasons that pushed the oil operators to either flare or vent associated gas, a by-product of oil extraction, at the wellhead or gathering stations, including infrastructure constraints, a lack of financial incentives to capture and process gas, poor regulatory frameworks, or binding contractual rights.
The Commentary, published by KAPSARC’s researcher Majed Al-Suwailem in the Markets and Industrial Development Program, pointed out that the Kingdom’s is the fourth-lowest gas flaring intensity per barrel of oil produced of all G20 countries, following Italy, France and Turkey, respectively. It is considered one of the most successful countries in dealing with gas flaring emissions.
“Without the measures taken by the Saudi government and the joint investment between the government and Aramco in building the MGS, the Kingdom might have had to produce an additional 18 billion scf per day in 2018 to meet domestic gas demand.
This assumes all other factors held constant,” according to Al-Suwailem’s analysis. KAPSARC’s Commentary demonstrated Aramco’s efforts to get along with raising the domestic gas demand in the past two decades, as it sought solutions for meeting this demand and succeeded in lowering gas flaring in its exploration and production activities by upgrading its facilities and using fit-for-purpose technologies to minimize flaring and prevent venting.
Before 2018, faring at wellheads has been gradually phased out, and routine gas flaring at processing facilities was reduced to 80.9 tcf in 2018.
The paper called for learning lessons from the Kingdom’s experience in mitigating gas flaring in the oil industry, which can be scaled up. Governments in such a position can exercise pressure on operators to collaborate on flaring mitigation, while providing financial incentives to capture, process, compress, and transport gas to consumer markets.
This article originally appeared on Arab News