Gas Flaring – Cheap and Nasty


In 2007 Shell and the Nigerian Government undertook that they would end gas flaring by 2008. They have not kept their promise. Gas flaring is the practice of burning off methane from oil wells, instead of dealing with the methane in an environmentally friendly fashion.

Methane is not burnt off when it can be piped to a nearby market but oil is found mostly these days away from nearby markets and so instead of pushing the methane back from whence it came oil exploration companies find it much cheaper to burn the methane off. Burning methane is just as bad as allowing methane to escape into the atmosphere, in terms of global warming.

If you do not believe that human greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for global warming, then think of the burnt methane in terms of a waste of a finite resource and the cause of atmospheric pollution and acidification of rain. CO2 + H2O → H2CO3.

Now the oil companies and some nations have promised to cut flaring of methane by 30% by 2017. I do not expect that this promise will be kept, but at least it will keep some environmentalists and international organisations quite in the belief that they will have achieved something.

Flaring each year emits as much carbon dioxide as 160 million motor cars.

2 Responses

  1. In the perfect world, it would result in only carbon dioxide and water.

    Since we live in an imperfect world, other by-products will show up. If the methane/oxygen mix is wrong, it often results in carbon monoxide being produced (which is toxic and can kill you) unlike Co2 which is an innert gas.

    However, Methane is usually never pure. There are many other hydrocarbons and gases mixed in. When the methane burns, all these other hydrocarbons and gases will produce their own by-products which mixes in with the by-products of the methane burn.

    Then one must look into the crooks of the matter.

    The global reserve currency was originally based on the goldern standard which the States had plenty of at one time, then when oil was discovered the greenback got joined at the hip to survive on the oil surplus of the middle eastern block and oil cartels…Today the next global reserve is being born on the back of the AGW model using Co2 as its furure reserves.

    The real pollution however is the visible and physical pollution being ejected in far greater quantities along with the hot gasses.

    The ground base will be long devoid of life before the air is unbreathable.

    Nobody has ever died of Co2 poisoning from everyday air, but could die working to pay for it, on every breath.

    • Just a small point.

      Carbon monoxide is not toxic; it is an asphixiant. It kills because it loves oxygen and if inhaled it reacts with oxygen in one’s lungs and makes carbon dioxide. Thereby the blood is deprived of oxygen and effectively, if there is sufficient, you can’t ‘breathe’.

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