sharing in governance of extractive industries

How to encourage the use of Associated Petroleum Gas and disincentivize flaring

Associated Petroleum Gas (APG) is a form of natural gas that is found associated with petroleum fields. APG is often flared or vented for regulatory, economic or technical reasons. The flaring, however, is problematic from health and environmental perspectives. Moreover, flaring and venting APG wastes a valuable non-renewable resource that could be re-injected into the oil field or used for local and regional electricity generation.

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) has been working to develop a regulatory and operational framework that would unlock the value of the APG that is currently wasted, in order to improve energy efficiency, expand access to energy, and contribute to climate change mitigation, thus promoting sustainable development.

CCSI first reviewed the following case studies in detail: AngolaCanadaEquatorial GuineaGhanaIndonesiaKazakhstanMexicoNigeriaNorth DakotaNorway, and Republic of the Congo. The Sabin Center For Climate Change Law contributed two case studies on Iraq and Russia that will be published soon.

CCSI then developed a Policy Framework to Approach the Use of Associated Petroleum Gas. This framework aims at providing guidance for regulators, policymakers, and industry leaders seeking to develop practical approaches to unlock the economic value of APG. 

With this framework, CCSI is hoping to contribute to the World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring by 2030.

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Comment by MBUYI MWAMBA Claudine on August 2, 2016 at 9:53

A study should be conducted to see the feasibility

Comment by Perrine Toledano on July 28, 2016 at 7:21

Hi Johnny

Here is my understanding of how it works, based on the consultations done for this report: Regular sustained venting hardly exists today and is often more  forbidden  than flaring. It is still happening on an irregular basis in particular at gas fields in terms of emergency, gas wells testing, non-routine depressuring of processing equipment and gas pipelines, always for very short term (These situations should be monitored to avoid abuse). Routing venting is not safe for the operator due to risks of unanticipated accumulation and explosions.  In the case of lack of monitoring of venting, hard regs on flaring, limited re-injection capacity and limited market outlet, operators will shut in production - they will not rely on venting.

Let me know if you find contradictory results - happy to continue the convo!


Comment by Johnny West on July 27, 2016 at 8:37

it would be interesting to know if there have been any studies done on whether the pressure not to flare has led to an increase in venting. venting of course is of methane which as a global warming agent is at least 20 times more powerful than the carbon dioxide produced by flaring, even if it typically does not represent a local health risk. if there are fields in which flaring no longer happens but gas collection for in-field or commercial use has not happened either (which would be prima facie establishable from if the infrastructure had been put in place), the question has to be: where has the gas gone (since the field will still be producing it)? the economic incentive would be to vent it. it would be great to know if there are any studies on this.


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