GlobalData’s latest thematic report, ‘Gas Flaring,’ provides an overview of gas flaring activities around the world. It highlights the top gas flaring countries in this domain along with the role played by leading oil and gas companies to lessen the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from flaring.

Gas flaring involves excess natural gas being burnt or flared off during an oil and gas operation. Gas flaring takes place across the oil and gas value chain but is predominant in the upstream sector. It has often been an easier recourse than harnessing the excess gas. Hence, it is natural that the largest exploration and production companies will contribute most towards gas flaring. Lately, there has been a conscious effort from the industry leaders to minimise this activity by setting up a gas recovery system or even channelizing the gas to produce alternate revenue streams.

The global geopolitical landscape addresses the gas flaring issue by encouraging countries to set themselves targets to reduce and subsequently eliminate gas flaring from their industries. Industry consortiums such as IPIECA and OGCI are working to do away with gas flaring. The inclusion of prominent oil-producing groups in this endeavour, the OPEC+ in particular, would boost efforts to curb global gas flaring activity.

Most of the top ten gas flaring countries are strongly dependent on their oil and gas production. This has often led to lax regulatory control on gas flaring activity. The excess gas that cannot be diverted into profitable channels is often flared off. This results in the wastage of a scarce energy resource that contributes to 1% of manmade carbon dioxide emissions and also leads to air pollution.

According to the UN and GlobalData estimates, countries that led the gas flaring ranking in 2020 were Iran, Venezuela, Russia, the US, Iraq, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and Angola. Iran led the global gas flaring output by volume in 2020, with 1,054Bcf of gas flared.