A German engineer, who works for a large international contractor, once said at a conference that the day flare stacks disappeared from the Middle East, it could call itself an efficient place.
His sentiments are being adopted by many companies as they realise that they may as well be burning dollar bills as burning their associated gas.
In Kuwait, if the majority of factories and power stations used gas rather than oil as feedstock, it could release up to 100,000 barrels a day more for export. Kuwait has made progress in cutting the amount of gas it flares and it is now looking to harness the flared gas from the Neutral Zone it shares with Saudi Arabia.
A number of schemes are already in place to capture the flared gas. Kuwait has said it will buy the gas produced to use in power production and industrial diversification.
As the world’s provider of energy, the Middle East has sometimes been guilty of putting revenue raising ahead of its own needs and the flaring of gas is a good example of this.
Now that many Gulf nations have turned their attention to their domestic requirements, they have realised the importance of harnessing all of their natural resources for the greater good.
After squandering potentially billions of dollars and wasting an opportunity to use gas as feedstock for an economic diversification plan, Kuwait is finally making progress on putting its gas reserves to good use.