May 5, 2022 - Energy & Environment

World Bank: Progress stalls on gas flaring cuts

Data: World Bank Group; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

A new World Bank report finds a "disappointing" level of progress over the last decade in curtailing the burning of natural gas at oil production sites.

Why it matters: Gas flaring is a sizable source of carbon emissions.

  • The report, based on satellite measurements, shows progress in decoupling flaring from oil production beginning in the mid-2000s.
  • But that has largely plateaued on an aggregate global basis, despite improvements in some regions.

Zoom in: Last year 144 billion cubic meters of gas were "needlessly" flared at upstream oil and gas sites, generating 400 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions, it estimates.

What they're saying: "Ending this polluting practice must be central to decarbonization efforts," Zubin Bamji, program manager of the bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership, said in the report.

  • Bamji, in the foreword, said wasted gas should instead displace dirtier fuels and boost energy access in poor nations.

😮For a sense of scale, Bamji notes: "[T]he volume of gas flared worldwide is greater than the European Union's 27 member states gas imports from Russia."

Read the report and related new analyses.

Go deeper