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Rising shale oil production in the United States that drove gas flaring up 48 percent in 2018 also pushed up the global total by 3 percent to 145 billion cubic meters, the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership reported.
The agency cited satellite imagery that showed the most active locations of gas flaring were concentrated in the Bakken shale play in North Dakota, and the Permian and the Eagle Ford formations in Texas and New Mexico. Oil production, the World Bank said, increased by as much as 40 percent in the Permian, 29 percent in the Bakken, and 15 percent in the Eagle Ford.
There was some good news, however, and it was that the intensity of gas flaring was low, at 0.3 cubic meters of gas per barrel of oil. This compares with as much as 2.9 cubic meters of gas per barrel of oil back in 2012 during the first shale revolution as the industry calls it.
Earlier this month, Norway’s Rystad Energy said gas flaring in the Permian had hit an all-time high in the first quarter of this year but that was not so much because of production growth as it was a result of a pipeline shortage that prevented the utilization of the associated gas flowing from oil wells.
The annualized rate of gas flaring in the Permian came in at 6.8 billion cubic meters, which is theoretically enough to meet much of the gas demand of whole countries. Together with the Bakken, which is the other flaring hot spot in the United States, oil and gas producers waste so much of the commodity that it exceeds the annual gas demand of certain countries such as Israel, Hungary, and Romania.
The consultancy said at the time there was little chance of this rate of gas flaring declining in any significant way through the rest of the year as additional pipeline capacity as well as gas storage is slow to come by.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.