The reduction of upstream greenhouse gas emissions from flaring and venting

Life-cycle analyses
GHG emissions

Oil wells produce natural gas along with oil, and in places where it’s difficult to transport or utilize the gas, operators of the wells may burn it (flaring) or in a few cases simply release it to the atmosphere (venting). Natural gas flaring releases over 400 million metric tonnes of CO2e every year and is a waste of potentially useful energy.

 The European Commission contracted ICCT to investigate and describe regulatory options to incentivize capture of gas that would otherwise be vented or flared. The report describes four options to allow crediting of venting and flaring reductions within the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD):

  • Option 1: allowing credits from the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) programs to be eligible for compliance under the FQD through the existing Union registry that tracks credits used under EU ETS
  • Option 2: allowing CDM and JI credits to be eligible through a standalone registry
  • Option 3a: a detailed outline of a new prescriptive framework that could be implemented as an alternative to the use of CDM methodologies
  • Option 3b: following requirements for upstream emissions reductions reporting contained in the implementing measure for FQD Article 7a proposed to the European Council in late 2014