Vast quantities of gas are produced in conjunction with petroleum production. This associated petroleum gas particularly contains methane. It is still not utilised in large quantities and is typically combusted (flared) near the production site, vented directly or else released into the atmosphere through leakage. The global flaring volumes of associated gas declined by 15% between 2005 and 2010, but have been hovering at a level of approximately 140 million m3 ever since.
When it comes to associated gas emissions that can be identified by satellite, flaring is merely the tiny, visible tip of the iceberg. Scarcely discernible, but considerably greater, are the non-flared methane emissions of the petroleum industry.