Oil Companies, Nations Commit to End Flaring by 2030

Photo: Shutterstock/claffra
Photo: Shutterstock/claffra

A group of 25 major oil companies, oil-producing nations and development institutions have for the first time committed to ending the practice of routine gas flaring at oil production sites by 2030.

The new initiative, Zero Routine Flaring by 2030, was announced Friday by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim at an event in Washington D.C.

Every year, an estimated 140 billion cubic meters of associated natural gas – enough to power Africa – is burned off or “flared” at thousands of oil fields across the globe, resulting in more than 300 million tons of CO2 being emitted to the atmosphere – the equivalent to approximately 77 million cars.

“Gas flaring is a visual reminder that we are wastefully sending CO2 into the atmosphere,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. “We can do something about this. Together we can take concrete action to end flaring and to use this valuable natural resource to light the darkness for those without electricity.”

Oil majors included in the initiative include TOTAL, Statoil, Eni, Shell, Kuwait Oil Company, SNPC, SOCAR, SNH-Carmeroon and BG. Meanwhile, Norway, Russia Federation, Cameroon, Kasakhstan, Gabon, Uzbekistan, Republic of Congo, France, Angola have also joined the initiative. No U.S. companies and the United States itself have not joined the initiative.

All 25 members have agreed to cooperate to eliminate ongoing routine flaring as soon as possible and no later than 2030, and also to publicly report on their flaring and progress on an annual basis.

“As we head towards the adoption of a meaningful new international climate agreement in Paris in December, these countries and companies are demonstrating real climate action,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Reducing gas flaring can make a significant contribution towards mitigating climate change. I appeal to all oil-producing countries and companies to join this important initiative.”

Oil companies and governments that have yet to endorse the initiative are currently undertaking comprehensive reviews of their gas flaring. Many are expected to join the Initiative in the coming months.