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The night sky of Southern Iraq is lit up by the thousands of gas flares from pumps in the giant Rumaila, Zubair, and Qurna-1 fields.
Director General Ali Khudair, of the South Gas Company, said that “Basrah produces only around 1 billion cubic feet/day of associated gas and some 700 million cubic feet/day is being flared, which is wasting millions of dollars of the country’s resources every day.” But apart from the financial cost the flares also release fine particles of soot and gases such as sulphur dioxide which can cause respiratory problems and acid rain.
A 25 year joint venture has been formed, known as the Basrah Gas Company, of which South Gas (a unit of the South Oil Company) controls 51%, Royal Dutch Shell has 44%, and Mitsubishi has 5%. The venture was begun in 2008, and aims to be the world’s largest gas flaring reduction project.
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Some sceptics wonder how much good the venture will be able to do as it is delayed whilst it waits for formal approval to begin operations, but Peter can Rijs, Shell’s supply chain amanger for the Middle East and North Africa, and construction procurement manager for Iraq, said that they have not waited idly, and have already begun to prepare. “We will start to capture gas immediately. The first limitation is that compressor stations are a bottleneck, so we have already repaired some.”
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com