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Gas Flaring Near Zero at 8th South Pars Refinery

(Tuesday, March 05, 2019) 14:12

The amount of associated petroleum gas burning out from the 8th South Pars Refinery has reached zero, managing director of the refinery said Tuesday.

"Optimization of sulfur recovery and ethane cracker units in the refinery has helped cut significantly flaring of associated gases from phases 20 and 21," Hadi Chabok was quoted as saying by ILNA.


The refinery receives natural gas from phases 20 and 21 of the giant South Pars field that is shared by Iran and Qatar in the Persian Gulf.


It consists of offshore and onshore sections and is among the biggest gas refineries in the Middle East with daily processing capacity of 100 million cubic meters, according to the South Pars Gas Complex website.


"Annual SO2 emission has reduced by 85% at the refinery," Chabok said.


Associated gas, or APG, is natural gas found with deposits of petroleum. Flaring is the burning of natural gas that cannot be processed or sold. 


Flaring is an important safety measure at many oil and gas production site, as it prevents industrial plant equipment from over-pressuring and exploding. However, burning high levels of APG is a major source of pollution.


The government is obliged to curb flaring of natural gas to 10% and lower by 2021 as per a law passed by the Majlis in 2017.


There are different ways of curbing APG levels, some of which are collecting it for injection into oil and gas wells to enhance recovery rate, converting APG into petroleum products such as natural gas liquids and using APG for electricity generation or as feedstock in the petrochemical industry.


Data issued by the World Bank shows 147 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas flared in 2015 up from 145 bcm in 2014 and 141 bcm in 2013. 


Russia remains the world’s largest gas flaring country, flaring about 21 bcm annually, followed by Iraq (16 bcm), Iran (12 bcm), the United States (12 bcm) and Venezuela (9 bcm).


Flaring also wastes a natural resource that could be put to productive use or conserved (by re-injecting it into the ground). For example, if the 147 bcm of gas flared globally was used for power generation, it could provide about 750 billion kWh of electricity, or more than the African continent’s current annual electricity consumption.


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