The volume of natural gas lost to flaring has increased by 3.2%, from 140.5 billion cubic metres in 2017 to 145 billion cubic metres in 2018.

Brainnwave pinpointed gas flaring events throughout the world using night-time satellite imagery from visible infrared radiometer data.

That data was then used to measure the volume of gas flared. This enabled the firm to use the mean Henry Hub spot price for natural gas in USD to estimate its value.

According to Brainnwave, Russia, Iraq, Iran and the US were the four most wasteful nations in 2018, flaring over 70 billion cubic metres of natural gas – enough to heat 38 million homes for a year – more than all the homes in the UK and Ireland combined.

This is also more gas flared than the next 30 most wasteful nations combined.

Gas flaring is a major environmental issue but it is also a commercial one. Oil producers often lack the infrastructure to export natural gas from their wells and face few alternatives but to flare it in order to reach oil. Some of our customers are now using our data intelligence platform to find opportunities to provide commercial solutions, including those that convert otherwise-flared gas into power without it even leaving the site. There are commercially viable solutions to gas flaring – but they rely on the technology being available and the financial incentives to make sense,

...Steve Coates, CEO of Brainnwave, said.

Gas flaring remains the most carbon-intensive part of producing oil, according to a 2018 study by Stanford University.

Current levels of gas flaring cause more than 300 million tons of CO2 to be emitted into the atmosphere. The volume of gas flared hit a peak in 2016.

Governments, oil companies, and development institutions around the world have been encouraged to endorse the World Bank’s “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” initiative.

The Initiative pertains to routine flaring and not to flaring for safety reasons or non-routine flaring, which nevertheless should be minimized.

DNV GL in latest Energy Transition Outlook revealed that the energy mix will be split almost equally between fossil and non-fossil sources by mid-century, with oil declining steeply after 2030, but gas continuing to grow before leveling off at 29% of the energy mix by 2050.