Washington, DC (BBN) – The World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership (GGFR) and major international partners are convening for a forum in Amsterdam to jointly look for the most effective ways of unlocking the value of wasted gas associated with oil production.

The initiative has been taken to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of natural gas worldwide.

The Global Forum on Flaring Reduction and Natural Gas Utilization, to be held in Amsterdam on December 4-5, is organized by the World Bank’s GGFR partnership, along with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Natural Gas STAR Program, Methane to Markets Partnership, and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP). A World Bank press statement said.

The event is also supported by major oil producing countries and companies, the OPEC Secretariat and the European Union.

During the drilling for crude oil, gas usually comes to the surface as well and is often vented or flared instead of used for private or commercial consumption.

The Global Forum will review the regulatory and commercial barriers that lead to natural gas flaring and venting, and will highlight best practices and case studies of operations that have been able to overcome barriers to gas utilization. It will also provide, for the first time, an opportunity to look at emerging technologies for the utilization of flared gas.

The GGFR partnership estimates that globally at least 150 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas are flared or burned every year, causing about 400 million tons of carbon dioxide in annual emissions.

The U.S. EPA estimates that over 100 bcm of methane is vented or lost through fugitive methane emissions in the oil and gas sector each year.

As methane is 21 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2, this adds the equivalent of over 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. Altogether, this is more than twice the potential yearly emission reductions from projects currently submitted under the Kyoto mechanisms.

The major flaring region in the world is Russia and the Caspian (about 60 bcm); followed by the Middle East and North Africa (about 45 bcm). Sub-Saharan Africa (about 35 bcm) is the third-biggest flaring region, followed by Latin America with some 12 bcm of gas flared annually.

Gabon, Iraq, the European Union, and Azerbaijan are some of the newest partners who have joined the GGFR partnership over the past few months, and more are expected to do so in the coming months, the statement added.

BBN/SI/SS/AD-20November08-9:59 AM (BST)