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India to slash the environmental damage done by oilfields by half within a year

PW Bureau 

India burns close to 850 million cubic metres of natural gas every year, representing around 2.6 percent of the total gas produced New Delhi: In a year’s time, India hopes to reduce natural gas flaring from its oilfields by half as part of the country’s efforts to sharply curb environmental damage and energy wastage. Following a recent review, oil producers have been ordered by the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), the upstream regulator, to take sharp steps to cut down flaring. The country burns close to 850 million cubic metres of natural gas every year, representing around 2.6 percent of the total gas produced.

Damage caused due to flaring

Flaring, or burning of natural gas, results in huge emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide. Methanea potent greenhouse gas, is released into the atmosphere and is considered to cause respiratory problems. It is also believed to be carcinogenic. “We are wasting so much gas and contributing to pollution and climate change by flaring. We must absolutely reduce it,” an official said. In over a decade, efforts made over the world to cut flaring have resulted in significant cuts by key producing nations.

‘Positive step’

Analysts said the strict measures taken by the country would lessen environmental damage. “This will help utilise our resources better and cut emissions,” said Lydia Powell, Centre for Resources Management at Observer Research Foundation. “Due to its environmental benefits, the project to cut flaring would also be a potential candidate for funding by multilateral organisations and developed countries.” Producers will have to figure out ways to transport gas to places where it can be used. “The challenge is not insurmountable,” Powell added.