Gas Utilization Program

Tengizchevroil completed its four-year $258 million Gas Utilization Project to eliminate routine gas flaring in Tengiz on December 26, 2009.

The Republic of Kazakhstan is a member of the Global Gas Flaring Reduction initiative, launched at the World Bank Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002. At that summit, the body acknowledged that the use of fossil fuels to meet the world's energy needs contributes to increased greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere, now widely thought to be a cause of climate change.

With a goal of eliminating routine flaring by the end of 2009, TCO developed a Gas Utilization Program. This plan received endorsement from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and from Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resaources. TCO has received the appropriate annual flare and emission permits in alignment with the Gas Utilization Program. Each year, TCO has met or improved upon the requirements in the plan.

In December 2004, the Republic of Kazakhstan adopted a new law that prohibited routine flaring of associated gas except for emergency situations. This requirement became effective immediately and significantly impacted the existing Tengiz processing facilities as they were not designed for zero flaring.

TCO and other companies in the Kazakh oil and gas industry undertook an advocacy effort regarding the flaring provision of the law, and in October, 2005 the Government amended the law to provide oil and gas operators a multiyear transition period to make design changes required to meet the no flaring intent of the law. Subsequent to the amendment, TCO submitted and received endorsement of a revised plan to utilize Tengiz natural gas to bring TCO into full compliance with the zero routine flaring requirement.

TCO has received the appropriate annual flare and emission permits that enable continued operation as the gas utilization project is implemented. TCO continues to operate within the limits of those permits.

Tengizchevroil was awarded the prestigious Excellence in Flaring Reduction Award at the 10th Global Gas Flaring Reduction Conference in London on October 24, 2012.

The World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) recognized TCO as a global leader in flaring reduction due, in part, to the success of TCO’s Gas Utilization Program (GUP) which helped TCO deliver on its commitment to end routine gas flaring. The company has reduced its flaring emissions by more than 94 percent since 2000; while increasing crude oil production 147 percent in the same timeframe.

What is flaring?

Routine flaring is the burning of the unused portion of the natural gas that is produced along with crude oil. At the genesis of the Tengiz field, the region lacked developed gas markets and infrastructure to send all gas produced to market. Therefore, some gas that couldn't be marketed or reinjected needed to be flared. TCO has made significant reductions in the amount of gas flared and other emissions over the last several years and eliminated routine flaring in 2009.