Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende participated in the launch of the World Bank initiative ‘Zero Routine Flaring by 2030’, together with World Bank President Jim Kim and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, at a meeting in Washington on 17 April. The CEOs of several large oil companies were also present, including Eldar Sætre, CEO of Statoil.
“When associated gas is flared, or burned, during oil production, this is both harmful for the climate and a waste of resources. Norway is therefore providing NOK8 million to the initiative,” said Brende.
Gas flaring, or the burning of associated gas in connection with oil production, causes more than 300 million t of CO2/y to be released into the atmosphere. If this gas was used to produce energy, it could provide more electricity than the African continent’s current annual consumption. Gas flaring is prohibited in Norway, with the exception of emergency flaring. The ban on routine flaring on the Norwegian continental shelf was introduced to avoid wasting resources. Later, when the effect of flaring on global warming was discovered, this strengthened Norway’s commitment to the ban.
“The consequences of gas flaring are particularly damaging in the Arctic. Black carbon, or soot, settles on the ice, darkens the surface, and causes the ice to melt faster. Research has shown that gas flaring causes up to 40% of the black carbon in the Arctic,” said Brende.
Norway was the first oil producing country to announce its support for the initiative. To date, a total of 24 governments, oil companies and development institutions have joined the initiative.
“I hope all oil producing countries and oil companies will support the work to eliminate routine gas flaring by 2030. Regulation and investment in this area are essential if we are to achieve sustainable solutions,” said Brende.
Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling