What will flaring be like?


In the case of an exploration well, when there may be too much gas to use it all on site but not enough to warrant making a connection to the gas grid, operators have no option other than to discard it. They are not allowed to just release it to atmosphere - something known as 'cold venting' and are required to burn it instead. This is called flaring.

Flaring takes place at temperatures of between 800 and 1,200 degrees Celsius. It destroys the gas, producing emissions of Carbon Dioxide and water vapour. During what's known as the 'Initial Well Test' where the flow of gas is measured, flaring could take place 24/7 for up to 90 days. 

Once a well is put into production, there is no longer any routine need to flare gas - remember, the object is to extract the gas and sell it to us for a profit, so it is not in anybody's interest to simply burn it all on site in a flare.

And, unlike in the US where gas flares are tall vertical pipes with jets of naked flame shooting into the sky, flaring in the UK must use something known as a shielded 'Ground Flare' where the gas is burned inside a shroud that cuts down on noise, hides the flame from view, makes it easier to maintain a consistent temperature in order to ensure a very high destruction efficacy, and is safer for wildlife too.

Flaring gas is not permanent, and will not light up the night sky.