Gas Flaring

Flaring or burning of natural gas significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions that would be created by simply venting unburnt gas.

Gas flaring

The flaring of gas is simply the controlled release and burning of gas.

Flaring is most commonly undertaken at gas processing plants during maintenance or shutdown events or when a well is being tested, maintained or brought into production.

It is essentially a safety procedure that allows the controlled release of pressure from the gas collection and processing system.

Flaring or burning of the gas significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions that would be created by simply venting unburnt gas.

Flaring is necessary for many reasons, including:

Well appraisal production testing

  • When a new well or collection of wells are drilled, flaring is used to determine the pressure, flow and composition of the gas from the well.
  • Flaring at the well site can last for several days, until the flow of liquids and gas from the well are stabilised.

LNG production and gas processing

  • A flare is an essential part of the operation of LNG facilities and gas processing plants.
  • Flaring safely eliminates excess gasses that cannot be recovered and reused.
  • Flaring during unscheduled stoppages at a facility helps ensure the safety of workers and prevents damage to critical equipment.

Operations and maintenance

  • Flares are also operated temporarily as an outlet for gas during scheduled maintenance and equipment repairs.
  • Before maintenance work can be carried out, the facility needs to be free of all gasses – including refrigerants such as propane and ethylene - so workers can do the work safely.
  • Smokey flares occur when refrigerant gasses used in the processing of LNG are sent to the flare.
  • Smokey flares have a similar chemical composition to a camp fire or candle flame.
  • Within gas producing fields, flaring can be used to maintain pressures and ensure safe and efficient operations

The Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 restricts the flaring and venting of gas unless a company can demonstrate that it is not safe, commercially feasible or technically practical to use the gas.

If you have a concern regarding flaring at a gas well or gas processing plants, you can contact the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy to investigate.

For more information on flaring and the management of the gas industry in Queensland, please view the CSG health and safety information for landholders page.