Apr 29, 2021 - World

The world wastes enough gas to power sub-Saharan Africa

Fire coming out of a natural gas structure.

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The World Bank is out with new data on global amounts of natural gas burned at oil production sites, revealing it's still a big problem despite a decline last year alongside the drop in crude output.

Why it matters: Flaring is a source of greenhouse gas emissions and wastes gas that if captured could be used for energy.

  • Flaring last year declined to 142 billion cubic meters (bcm), compared to 150 bcm in 2019.
  • "Nonetheless, the world still flared enough gas to power sub-Saharan Africa," the bank said in a summary of the analysis.

Where it stands: Russia, Iraq, Iran, the United States, Algeria, Venezuela and Nigeria are the largest gas-flaring countries, per the report.

The U.S. accounted for 70% of last year's flaring decline, owing to the oil output drop "combined with new infrastructure to use gas that would otherwise be flared."

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