Western Australia is the first Australian jurisdiction to join the World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 initiative to more efficiently manage natural gas resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Worldwide, flaring by petroleum companies annually burns about 140 billion cubic metres of natural gas and emits more than 300 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
If this much gas was used for power generation, it would generate about 750 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, or more than the African continent’s current annual electricity consumption.
The initiative is focused on routine wellhead flaring during production, not exploration testing and emergency situations, or at oil refineries such as Kwinana.
This commitment will be reinforced by strengthening regulation as part of the implementation of the recommendations from the independent scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracture stimulation, which includes amendments to regulations under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act and the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act.
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety consulted industry, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, and government agencies before recommending that Western Australia should support the initiative.
As stated by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
“Capturing the gas that would normally be flared reduces greenhouse gas emissions and makes better use of our energy resources.
“Signing up to this initiative further demonstrates this Government’s commitment to addressing climate change, and will contribute to the State’s new Climate Policy, which is currently being developed.”
As stated by Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:
“This is another first for Western Australia as a world-leading mining jurisdiction.
“At the heart of all the research and consultation that led to this recommendation is a simple premise: if you’ve got gas, either sell it or inject it back into the ground, but don’t burn it.
“Regulation of petroleum activities in Western Australia will be further strengthened when the McGowan Government implements recommendations of the scientific inquiry into fracking.”