THE UNITED STATES’ GAS FLARE-UP: WHY AN ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEM THAT WAS ON THE DECLINE IS BACK WITH A VENGEANCE
When companies drill for oil, the process can also release natural gas (primarily composed of methane) as a byproduct, called associated gas. For safety reasons and to release pressure in the system, the associated gas needs to be removed. Typically, this has been done by venting (releasing) or flaring (burning) the gas. Of the two, flaring is preferable, since it converts methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas to carbon dioxide, a less powerful one. But natural gas flares are still wasteful and environmentally harmful. July 28, 2019.