Yaounde, Cameroon, February 7, 2005 —
A regional forum on reducing gas flaring and venting in Sub-Saharan Africa
was held in Yaounde on January 26-27, 2005. The two-day event was
hosted jointly by Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures of Cameroon and the
World Bank on behalf of the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Public-Private
The Gulf of Guinea Forum on Flaring Reduction was the first effort dedicated
to reducing gas flaring through the engagement and cooperation of regional
stakeholders, using the collaboration principles developed by the GGFR.
The forum sought to enable public and private sector stakeholders to find
ways to attach a monetary value to flared and vented gas so that a commercial
market for the commodity could be developed
Mr. Adolphe MOUDIKI, Administrator Director General of the Société Nationale
des Hydrocarbures of Cameroon opened the Forum. Participants included high-level
representatives from the ministries and companies of the oil and gas sector
from Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Nigeria, and Gabon.
The forum focused on domestic projects as well as cooperation on establishing
regional gas infrastructures linking supply sources and markets in close
proximity. The participants discovered significant common ground laying
the basis for future cooperation and exchange of experience. For
establishing regional infrastructure, the main recommendation is to pursue
a combination of projects and policy development to make a difference on
the ground as quickly as possible in view of domestic needs, associated
gas decline in Cameroon, and available liquefaction capacity in the region.
Implementation of the collaboration principles developed by the GGFR aims
to cut venting and flaring significantly within five to ten years in the
GGFR partnership by monetizing otherwise flared gas. Further reductions
may be achieved if additional countries, companies, and institutions endorse
and implement the collaboration principles.
Following up on the conclusions of the forum would lead to use of associated
natural gas, spur the growth of regional gas markets, and reduce barriers
to gas market access, as well as bring down greenhouse gas emissions from
venting and flaring. The implementation of the recommendations is
expected to the deepening of sustainable development practices in the hydrocarbons
1. The Issue: When crude oil is brought to the
surface from several kilometers below, gas associated with such oil extraction
usually comes to the surface as well. If oil is produced in areas of the
world that lack gas infrastructure or a nearby gas market, a significant
portion of this associated gas may be released into the atmosphere, unignited
(vented) or ignited (flared).
The World Bank estimates that the annual volume of natural gas being flared
and vented is over 100 billion cubic meters, enough to provide the combined
annual gas consumption of Italy and France. Flaring in Africa alone could
produce 200 Terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, about 50 percent of the
current power consumption of the African continent and more than twice
the level of power consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa).
This is also equivalent to more than 10 percent of committed emission reductions
by developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol for the period 2008-2012.
About 75 percent of global venting and flaring occurs in 10 countries,
with the next 10 countries adding another 15 percent.
2. History: In 2001, the Global Initiative on
Natural Gas Flaring Reduction was initiated by the government of Norway
and the World Bank Group to investigate the issue. It found that for the
past 20 years, global flaring levels have remained virtually constant (although
individual country levels have fluctuated), despite efforts made by individual
governments and companies, and despite many successes in reducing flaring.
The overall effect of these efforts has been limited due to (1) the increase
in global oil production and associated gas production; and (2) major constraints
hindering the development of gas markets, gas infrastructure, and flaring
reduction projects, which often require a collaborative approach with key
stakeholders taking complementary and supportive action.
3. The GGFR Partnership: As a result of its
findings, the initiative was transformed into the Global Gas Flaring Reduction
Public-Private Partnership (GGFR) at the World Summit on Sustainable Development
in 2002 in Johannesburg, to address the issue through collaboration. In
addition to the World Bank Group, this public-private partnership currently
includes BP, ChevronTexaco, ENI, ExxonMobil, Norsk Hydro, Royal Dutch Shell,
Statoil, and TOTAL and the governments or national oil companies of Algeria,
Angola, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia,
Nigeria, Norway, The United Kingdom and the United States, with other
companies and countries expected to join. The growing membership, now including
OPEC, covers over 70 percent of the sources of venting and flaring globally.
4. Objective and Activities of GGFR: The aim
of GGFR is to support national governments and the petroleum industry in
their efforts to reduce flaring and venting of gas associated with the
extraction of crude oil. A three-year work program was approved beginning
in January 2003, coordinated by a small team based at the World Bank. The
GGFR work program focuses on four areas of activity to assist in the reduction
of gas flaring and venting in its partner countries: (1) commercializing
associated gas, including domestic market development and access to international
markets; (2) developing legal and fiscal regulations for associated gas;(3)
implementing the flaring and venting reduction standard that has been developed
by the partnership; and (4) capacity building related to carbon credits
for flaring and venting reduction projects. Supporting activities include
data gathering, stakeholder consultations, and identification and dissemination
of best practice (ref. http://www.worldbank.org/ggfr).
5. The Global Venting and Flaring Reduction
Voluntary Standard: The standard provides guidance on how to achieve reductions
in the venting and flaring of gas associated with crude oil production.
Its focus is two-fold: to eliminate routine venting of associated gas and
to eliminate or significantly reduce continuous flaring of associated gas.
The standard encourages prioritization and allocation of resources to operations
with the largest potential for venting and flaring reduction globally.
Key elements include goals for achieving significant reductions in associated
gas venting and flaring in the short term, as well as encouraging improvement
over a longer time period. The standard also provides guidance on
monitoring and transparency and a recommended timeframe for adoption and
implementation of its goals.
6. How the Standard Was Developed: The partnership
reviewed barriers to associated gas utilization and existing standards,
regulations, policies, and best practices aimed at venting and flaring
reduction. It then identified improvements and points of collaboration
through extensive consultations with the oil and gas industry and the governments
of countries where venting and flaring occur. The approach set forth in
the standard is intended to go beyond the venting and flaring practices
that are currently applied in many countries.
Why the Standard Will Make a Difference: The standard takes a collaborative
approach, which is essential to overcome the constraints hindering viable
flare reduction projects in many areas. When oil and gas producers and
governments apply the standard, they will produce implementation plans
that support gas utilization. These project- or country-specific plans
will be linked through a consultation process with stakeholders, resulting
in a coordinated, local partnership approach to associated gas venting
and flaring. Key stakeholders include gas producers, major consumers, and
the government. For a given project, additional stakeholders may include
owners of gas infrastructure, financial institutions, and representatives
of local communities.
The Role of the World Bank Group: As a key participant and sponsor of the
Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership, the World Bank Group will actively
promote and disseminate the Global Gas Flaring and Venting Reduction Standard
as a best practice initiative for all oil production operations in which
it is involved.