Anyone who has ever seen an oil refinery has surely seen the gas flares buring off excess natural gas produced during the refining process. Obviously this combustion generates a lot of CO2 and wastes potential fuel. French oil company Total decreed a "zero flaring" policy for any new refining projects back in 2000, but that didn't apply to any existing facilities. Now Total will be reducing flaring at all of their existing facilities by fifty percent by 2012.
Gas flaring comprised 23 percent of Total's green house gas emissions in 2005. Between 1998 and 2005, Total claims to have reduced gas flaring at their facilities by forty percent in spite of increased production. Total will now focus on using these gases for power generation locally, exporting it to consumer countries, or re-injecting it back into the oil fields when feasible. Finally if none of those options are workable they will flare it rather than release the gas into the atmosphere.

[Source: Total via GreenCarCongress]

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