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posted by CoolHand on Tuesday January 12 2016, @09:21PM   Printer-friendly
from the out-of-control-gas dept.

According to satellite data estimates, 350 million tons of natural gas were wastefully burned at the wellhead in 2012, about 3.5% of worldwide natural gas production. To put this into perspective, this amount of natural gas could provide electrical power to the entire continent of Africa. The CO2 emissions from natural gas flares are roughly equivalent to 10% of all CO2 emissions of the European Union.

The problem, as you might surmise, is the handling and transportation of the natural gas produced as a by-product of oil wells in areas without the infrastructure to handle gas. In addition, some gas produced as oil by-product has relatively low levels of methane. Russia flares more natural gas than any other nation, followed by Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Venezuela, Algeria, and the United States.

The World Bank is trying to stop all routine flaring of natural gas by 2030. North Dakota and New Mexico are taking steps to reduce gas flares.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RedGreen on Wednesday January 13 2016, @12:11AM

    by RedGreen (888) on Wednesday January 13 2016, @12:11AM (#288856)

    "None of the links contain any realistic technical or economic solution."

    Well who cares about the links first thing I thought reading the summary was why the hell are they not running it though a natural gas electrical generator, it is not like an oil well does not need electricity some of the time for its operations...

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  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday January 13 2016, @09:27AM

    by frojack (1554) on Wednesday January 13 2016, @09:27AM (#288992) Journal

    Most oil fields have power to every well head, and to every pump along the way.

    Problem is, you need a separate gas line from each well because the oil degases at the well head, and you don't want to pump gassy oil.

    So that's another pipe line to pipe the gas somewhere for oil separation, dewatering, and shipment. That's a lot of pipe
    OR
    a gas fired generation facility at or near the well head. Each of which needs a much bigger power line, and a water source, and a control system, to produce electricity in far greater quantity than they need on site. Thats a lot of infrastructure.

    I use to see the gas flaring off of the platforms in Cook Inlet every time flying into or leaving Anchorage, and I asked around about why they did that. Was told that since these were platforms at sea, it would never pay for them to put infrastructure out there on the water to deal with that amount of gas. They did curtail flaring on most land wells in Alaska.

    Still, every-time I got a gas bill I thought of those flaring platforms burning 24/7.

    I wondered why the couldn't re-inject it and store it under ground till needed. I guess the answer is the huge methane leak from just such a storage facility [scientificamerican.com] in California as we speak.

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    • (Score: 2) by RedGreen on Wednesday January 13 2016, @05:30PM

      by RedGreen (888) on Wednesday January 13 2016, @05:30PM (#289133)

      So they did not heat them platforms out in the middle of the ocean in Alaska? Another easy use of the excess it is already burning somehow even with the supposed limitations you describe I'm pretty sure it would still burn in generator too. Just a bunch of excuses for disgustingly bad behavior by the bottom feeders contained in the oil industry.

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      "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday January 13 2016, @07:53PM

        by frojack (1554) on Wednesday January 13 2016, @07:53PM (#289242) Journal

        Yes, of course the heated them, and supplied electrical power, and probably from their own gas. (I really don't know about how they generated power, but I suspect it was a gas burning internal combustion gen-set).

        But the fact that they flared 24/7 should have been your clue that they need to get rid of way more gas than they could use for those purposes.

        And the fact that they don't find a way to sell that gas by piping it somewhere suggests the economics just aren't there. Why else would evil-oil-corp pass on taking a profit?

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        • (Score: 2) by RedGreen on Wednesday January 13 2016, @09:23PM

          by RedGreen (888) on Wednesday January 13 2016, @09:23PM (#289276)

          "Why else would evil-oil-corp pass on taking a profit?"

          Too God damn cheap to spend the extra money/same old way of doing things/not invented here syndrome, take your pick.

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