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No continuous gas flaring in Uganda, says Tullow Oil

Last update - Thursday, February 25, 2010, 11:35 By Metro Éireann

AN IRISH-FOUNDED oil company says it will not conduct “continuous gas flaring” in Uganda. The company reacted to comments from Labour MEP for Ireland East, Nessa Childers, who expressed concern that Tullow Oil’s production contract with the Ugandan government will permit “practically open-ended consent for the company to engage in the ‘flaring’ of natural gas which is not used in petroleum operations”.

A spokesperson told Metro Éireann: “Tullow has established the principle for its Uganda developments that there will be no continuous gas flaring except in emergency situations.
“We are now in a period of appraisal testing prior to continuous production,” the spokesperson continued, “and are in the process of eradicating all crude flaring although very minor amounts of waste gas may have to be flared during these well tests.
“Any flaring would be conducted to industry best practice standards and visual pollution would be minimised.”
Gas flaring involves the burning off of surplus combustible vapours either as a means of disposal or as a safety measure.
According to Childers’ statement, flaring gas has a massive global impact on climate change, adding about 400m tonnes of CO2 in annual emissions.
She said it is “recognised internationally” that flaring becomes a major issue where regulatory frameworks are weak.
“The very fact that there is a weak or practically absent oil production regulatory regime in much of this part of Africa should not give big oil companies carte blanche to take measures that will impact on the African and indeed the global climate situation.
Childers added: “Tullow is a respected international company. I accept too that the company has made a clear commitment to good international and industry practice in the region.
“However, these are easy commitments to make when one sees that there are few if any national standards governing this area of activity, as is the case in Uganda.”

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