Journey Toward Near Zero Flaring—A Case Study

This paper presents Saudi Aramco’s efforts to reduce flaring throughout its operations, beginning with the development of its Master Gas System.

In the oil field
Source: Leonid Ikan/Getty Images

Saudi Aramco’s long journey to reduce flaring has gone through several phases of growth and progression. The journey began with the development of the Master Gas System (MGS). That enabled the company to achieve zero routine flaring as per the World Bank’s definition. Today, Saudi Aramco has achieved a flaring intensity of 4.60 scf/BOE. This amounts to less than 1% of raw gas production.

The MGS was designed by Saudi Aramco to capture and process the associated gas that is coproduced during oil production. The system includes a vast network of pipelines, gas processing facilities, and storage capacity that enable the company to capture and use the associated gas in a safe and efficient manner. The gas, which previously was regarded as a waste product, was commonly flared.

Recognizing the inherent value of the gas, Saudi Aramco sought to use it as a source of energy and raw material. The development of the MGS started in the 1970s, and, since then, it has undergone several upgrades and expansions to keep pace with the growing demand for gas in the region.

Today, the MGS is one of the largest and most advanced gas processing systems in the world, with a total processing capacity of over 12.5 Bscf/D. The system is capable of capturing and processing a wide range of gas streams, including sour gas, sweet gas, and natural gas liquids. In addition to providing a valuable source of fuel and feedstock to the petrochemical industry, the MGS has also played a significant role in reducing the associated gas flaring that occurs during oil production. Thereby, Saudi Aramco successfully achieved zero associated gas flaring and reduce its total flaring by more than 95%.

SPE members can download the complete paper from SPE’s Health, Safety, Environment, and Sustainability Technical Discipline page for free from 15 to 28 February.

Find paper SPE 215505 on OnePetro here.