Gas flaring, globally, has increased to 150 billion cubic meters (bcm)–a level that has not been seen in more than a decade said the World Bank.
The estimate was calculated using satellite data around the world.
The data was released by the World Bank-managed Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership–which comprises governments, oil companies and international institutions working to end routine gas flaring at oil production sites around the world.
According to the World Bank, the three percent rise, from 145 bcm in 2018 to 150 bcm in 2019, was mainly due to increases in three countries–the United States (up by 23 percent), Venezuela (up by 16 percent) and Russia (up by nine percent).
Gas flaring in fragile or conflict-affected countries increased from 2018 to 2019; in Syria by 35 percent and in Venezuela by 16 percent. This is despite oil production flattening in Syria and declining by 40 percent in Venezuela, read the World Bank's report.
Gas flaring–the burning of natural gas associated with oil extraction–takes place because of technical, regulatory and/or economic constraints.
It results in more than 400 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions every year and wastes a valuable resource, with harmful impacts to the environment from un-combusted methane and black carbon emissions.
"Our data suggests that gas flaring continues to be a persistent problem, with solutions remaining difficult or uneconomic in certain countries," said Christopher Sheldon, practice manager in the Energy & Extractives Global Practice, World Bank.
"The current Covid-19 pandemic and crisis brings additional challenges–with sustainability and climate concerns potentially sidelined. We must reverse this worrying trend and end routine gas flaring once and for all," he added.
The top four gas flaring countries–Russia, Iraq, the US, and Iran–have accounted for around 45 percent of all global gas flaring, for three years till 2019.