Sunday January 16, 2022

Petroleum division wants flare-gas for transportation despite Ogra’s concerns

January 07, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of energy is determined to get the government’s permission to the use of flare-gas in transportation sector despite safety concerns of the regulator over the fuel supply, it was learnt on Wednesday.

Sources said the petroleum division has already prepared a summary to take the permission of the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet for compressed natural gas (CNG) licences based on flare-gas that refers to the combustion of associated gas generated during various processes including oil and gas recovery

However, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has already raised objection over the use of flare-gas in the CNG/transport sector as it is inconsistent in quality with techno-legal constraints, posing “a serious threat to public life and safety,” Ogra said in a letter to the petroleum division.

“Ogra has already conveyed the legal and factual position to ministry of energy (petroleum division) which is reflected in para 4 of the draft summary. Transportation of flare gas through bowsers and its compression at the oil and gas field is not covered under CNG Rules 1992,” Ogra said in the letter available with The News.

“The Ogra further said flare-gas utilisation guidelines 2016 no-where mandates or necessitates the supply of flare-gas to the CNG station only. Para 3 of the draft summary is self-contradictory as it proposes flare gas be best utilized in the transport sector from gas reserves located remotely while at the same time declares that industrial bases are not situated in close proximity of gas reserves and hence such gas may not be supplied to industrial units.”

The regulator said there are no regulatory requirements for the sale of flare gas as CNG, “hence it cannot be used /allowed in the CNG sector.”

Flare gas is off-spec gas and there is no mechanism available either at well-head / field or at the CNG station to bring it on specifications.

Two flare-gas licencees namely i.e. Hi-Tech. and E-Gas Pvt. Ltd. has been found supplying off-spec gas and has been stopped to supply flare-gas.

“This fact supported the apprehension that specifications of such flare gas varies drastically and cannot thus be checked and ensured at all times; no mechanism is available for gas sweetening and dehydration just the downstream of the field at the flare gas installations. No mechanism is available at the flare gas installations or at the site of CNG station(s) which would ensure round the clock collection of data related to the composition of the gas, as in the case of pipeline gas suppliers,” the Ogra said.

“Off-spec flare-gas to CNG stations would mean compromising the integrity of CNG equipment at CNG stations as well as in CNG converted automobiles/cylinders, endangering the life and property of the general public. Supply of such gas may result in weakening of CNG cylinders installed at the CNG stations and at the vehicles and may result into accidents. Supply of off-spec gas to CNG vehicle owners would result in serious safety repercussions beyond imagination and control. No experiment in such matter is affordable vis public safety as well as the unlawful behavior / attitude of the flare gas licensees observed so far as they are still supplying such gas to CNG stations.”