The Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO), an offshore division of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), aspires to become the first in the Gulf region to end the “flaring” of natural gas, the UAE-based daily The National reported this week.
The World Bank describes gas flaring as “the process of burning-off associated gas from oil wells and hydrocarbon processing plants either as a means of disposal or as a safety measure,” and notes that it is now recognized as a major environmental problem, contributing some 400 million tons of CO2 emissions worldwide.
The Middle East and North Africa region flares about 30 billion cubic meters of associated gas each year (20% of total global flaring), with Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait among the top 20 flaring countries in the world. The total amount of gas wasted annually through flaring is valued at approximately $30.6 billion, and is equivalent to 25% percent of the U.S.’s gas consumption or 30% of the EU’s consumption.
“It will be very difficult to go to zero. It is very expensive, but we are looking to do it,” Ali al Jarwan, ADMA-OPCO’s general manager, said this week, speaking at the 1st Middle East Forum on Flaring Reduction and Gas Utilization held in Oman. The conference was co-hosted by the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) partnership and the UAE’s energy company Masdar.
“Norway is the major one to do this and if industrialized countries can do this, then Gulf countries can too,” Al-Jarwan declared. Abu Dhabi seeks to halt all flaring within seven years, without relying on any international funding.