Bangladesh’s gas fields burned $3 million worth of natural gas in 2021 in gas flaring, according to a World Bank report on Thursday.
In 2020, the amount burned was 14.84 million cubic meters (mcm) worth $1.7 million. The year 2021 has seen a 75% increase in gas flaring.
The World Bank’s 2022 Global Gas Flaring Tracker report indicates that in 2021, 25.93 mcm (916 million cubic feet) of gas was flared during flaring in Bangladesh, equivalent to $2.98 million in sales value.
The amount, though meager from a global perspective, matters a lot to Bangladesh which is now forced to buy expensive gas on the spot market to cover local production shortfalls.
The largest flaring field is Kailastila operated by Petrobangla, burning 18.28 mcm of gas, followed by Titas with 5.27 mcm.
The Bibiyana and Jalalabad fields, operated by Chevron, burned 1.8 and 0.58 mcm respectively.
Energy expert and professor geologist Dr Badrul Imam, however, said the volume was “not significant” compared to the country’s total daily gas production.
He said: “Right now we produce about 2,300 million cubic feet of gas per day and about 1 trillion cubic feet per year. So the amount burned per year in the flares is not that large. .”
Speaking of waste reduction, he said a solution could be found by knowing in which areas the gas fields are currently burning gas and how.
Globally, 144 billion cubic meters of gas worth $16.5 billion and enough to power all of sub-Saharan Africa was needlessly flared in flares at upstream oil and gas facilities in 2021 , a year that has seen a turbulent global energy market, according to the Gas Flaring report.
In addition to wasting natural resources, gas flaring, the industrial practice of burning natural gas associated with oil and gas extraction, released 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions. in the air, the report says, calling for more efforts to reduce waste to conserve gas for productive use as well as to control environmental pollution.
Although Russia and the United States are among the top 10 flaring countries which accounted for 75% of all gas flaring, Bangladesh also plays a role.
The oil and gas industry has continued wasteful and polluting practices for 160 years due to the lack of a gas management and utilization strategy, the report said.
A host of problems, ranging from market and economic constraints to lack of appropriate regulation and political will, are also blamed on gas flaring, causing a monumental waste of a valuable natural resource that should be used for productive purposes, such as as electricity generation, or retained.
“Ending routine flaring at oil production sites is vital, both to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to conserve gas for productive uses, such as to generate electricity. in poor communities that depend on dirtier fuels for their energy needs,” he said.
Conserved gas could potentially replace other more polluting fuels, such as coal and diesel, which generate higher emissions per unit of energy, he points out.
Calling gas flaring totally unproductive, he suggested several alternatives to remedy the common practice: reinjecting the associated gas into the ground or building the infrastructure needed to capture, store and transport the associated gas to market.
Governments can put in place effective regulations and policies to incentivize and encourage the reduction of gas flaring, according to the Zero Routine Flaring (ZRF) initiative, launched jointly by the World Bank and the UN with a commitment to end gas flaring by 2030.