Why Russia burns off $10m of gas a day?

As energy costs in Europe skyrocket, Russia is burning huge amounts of natural gas.

Experts say the gas would have previously been exported to Germany, writes a BBC analysis.

They say the plant near the border with Finland is burning about $10 million worth of gas every day.

Scientists are concerned about the large volumes of carbon dioxide and soot it is creating, which could exacerbate the melting of Arctic ice.

COPERNICUS SENTINEL/SENTINEL HUB/PIERRE MARKUSE

Rstad Energy’s analysis shows that about 4.34 million cubic meters of gas are flared every day.

It comes from a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Portovaya, north-west of St. Petersburg. The first signs that something was wrong came from Finnish citizens over the nearby border who noticed a large flame on the horizon earlier this summer.

Portovaya is located near a compressor station at the start of the Nordstream 1 pipeline, which transports gas undersea to Germany.

Pipeline supplies have been limited since mid-July, with the Russians blaming technical issues for the restriction. Germany says it was just a political move after  invasion of Ukraine.

But since June, researchers have noticed a significant increase in heat emanating from the object, which is thought to be from burning natural gas.

Why Russia burns off gas?

While gas flaring is common in processing plants, usually for technical or safety reasons, the extent of this flaring has baffled experts.

“I’ve never seen an LNG plant ignite this much,” said Dr Jessica McCarty, an expert on satellite data from Miami University in Ohio.

Mark Davis is the CEO of Capterio, a company that is involved in finding solutions for gas flaring.

He says the ignition is not random and is more likely a deliberate decision made for operational reasons.

“Operators are often reluctant to close facilities for fear that they may be technically difficult or expensive to restart, and that is probably the case here,” he told the BBC.

Others believe there may be technical challenges in handling the large volumes of gas being fed into the Nordstream pipeline.

Russian energy company Gazprom may have intended to use that gas to produce LNG at the new plant, but it may have had problems handling it and the safer option is to flare it.

Russia has a history of flaring gas; according to the World Bank, it is the number one country when it comes to burn volume.

But in addition to releasing about 9,000 tons of CO2 equivalent each day from this combustion, it causes other significant problems.

Black carbon is the name given to soot particles that are produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels such as natural gas.

“Of particular concern is the transport of the emitted black carbon northwards, where it is deposited in snow and ice and significantly accelerates its melting,” said Prof Matthew Johnson, from Carleton University in Canada.

Gas Reserves in Russia

Russia holds 1,688 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of demonstrated gas saves starting around 2017, positioning first on the planet and representing around 24% of the world’s complete flammable gas stores of 6,923 Tcf.

Russia has demonstrated holds comparable to 102.3 times its yearly utilization. This implies it has around 102 years of gas left (at current utilization levels and barring doubtful stores).

Russia consumes 16,510,143 million cubic feet (MMcf) of petroleum gas each year as of the year 2017.

Russia positions second on the planet for petroleum gas utilization, representing around 12.5% of the world’s complete utilization of 132,290,211 MMcf.

Russia consumes 113,448 cubic feet of petroleum gas per capita consistently (in light of the 2017 populace of 145,530,082 individuals), or 311 cubic feet for every capita each day.

Russia produces 22,728,734 million cubic feet (MMcf) of petroleum gas each year (starting around 2015) positioning second on the planet.

Russia sends out 26% of its flammable gas creation (5,992,956 MMcf in 2015).

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