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Gas flaring

Action 3.3: Common BC-standards for gas flares

BC formation can be caused by several factors including wind, water, impurities in the fuel, or poor mixing with air. Therefore, deploying appropriate flare systems or technologies - for the appropriate conditions - is vital to reducing the emission of black carbon. Emissions can be reduced by ensuring that flare technologies are appropriately designed, constructed, maintained, and operated.


Area of action
Gas flaring
Define common environmental standards for gas flares, including BC
Type of intervention
Primary: Regulation/legislative proposals (on technical standards)
Secondary: Economic incentives
Time perspective
Structural change
Jurisdictional scope
International (Arctic Council countries)
Policy forum
Arctic Council and/or the World Bank

Even when routine flaring has been eliminated, flaring of gas does occur for safety reasons (for example, flaring in safety burner pilots), during well testing and start-up of operations, for any unavoidable technical reasons (such as purge venting), or for the case of the onset of emergencies (emergency production stops). By setting common standards for black carbon emissions, newly designed flare stacks could serve the potential for reducing black carbon formation, regardless of routine flaring or intermittent flaring.

This action could include, in a sequential manner:

  • Step 1: Develop testing procedures for gas flares to allow comparison of performance in terms of black carbon emissions and emissions of other air pollutants from different types of flares. Currently there is no selected common procedure for testing and comparing a flare performance from a black carbon perspective;
  • Step 2: Develop environmental standards for flares, regulating inter alia black carbon emissions. This standard, leveraging existing work performed by research groups and flare technology providers, should build on existing low emissions standards and provide a consistent framework, including testing procedure and measurement technology. A common environmental standard for flares would allow comparison of performance of different types of flares in terms of emissions and verification that a flare is “low emissions”;
  • Step 3: Encourage (regulate) flare technology providers to comply with the low emission standard when designing new models;
  • Step 4: Encourage operators to deploy low emission gas flares. For example, the permission for implementing a new flare with a low emission standard could be a part of the operating rights granted to operators under production licenses (or contracts) or field development plan approvals