According to Article 159 of Law No. 19-13, 2019 , flaring for safety does not require prior authorization. However, operators must provide a detailed report of the flare to the relevant regulatory agency within 10 days. Articles 7 and 18 of the Executive Decree 21-330, 2021 , codify these requirements for upstream and midstream operations, respectively. As per Article 26, venting for safety during pipeline transport is treated the same way. Neither the law nor the executive decree defines technical reasons for flaring for safety. However, Article 43 of Law No. 19-13, 2019, charges the ARH with developing regulations concerning industrial safety, well integrity, and prevention of risks to the health and safety of employees. At the time of writing, the ARH had not published relevant regulations for Law No. 19-13, 2019.

Resolution No. 143/1998  prescribes that gas be flared, not vented, through appropriate procedures. If, for technical reasons, the gas cannot be flared, the operator is required to submit a report to justify venting. Annex 1 (“Norms and Procedures for Venting Gas”) lists the circumstances under which gas venting is allowed: section 3.1 permits flaring or venting when the gas-to-oil ratio at the vent point does not exceed 1 m³ of gas per 1 m³ of crude oil produced. section 4.4 permits periodic venting of gas when there are no conduction lines to capture the gas at the wellhead. section 5.1 permits venting when it occurs during well testing. The authorities should be notified in writing of all flaring and venting for all causes (maintenance, operations, or emergencies) within 24 hours. The reasons for the contingency, flow rates and damages, and the immediate measures and corrective measures implemented must be detailed. The Neuquén province’s Law 2.175/1997  prohibits gaseous emissions from oil and gas wells. Emissions from flares can be authorized for oil wells if the emissions are not characterized as a hazardous waste. Article 2 of Neuquén Provincial Decree No. 29/2001  requires the operator to submit a report documenting a justification for venting if the unused gas cannot be flared for technical reasons and to follow the same criteria for venting as stipulated in Resolution No. 143/1998.

No explicit statements on flaring and venting without prior approval were identified in the documents consulted. Section 10 of this case study addresses the regulatory approach at the national and state levels.

Article 2 of Resolution 806/2020  defines “ordinary flares” as flaring or venting of gas that does not require prior authorization. Article 3 states that the volume of ordinary flaring or venting of natural gas carried out each month cannot be higher than that corresponding to the Associated Gas Utilization Index (Índice de Utilização de Gás Associado [IUGA]) for the same month in the approved PAP with a permitted exceedance of 15 percent. Sanctions are applied to each monthly infraction. Article 14 states that authorization is not needed in case of emergency flaring or venting. Operators should provide ANP validation of the volume of gas flared or vented during emergencies. Article 6 states that flaring or venting associated gas does not require the ANP’s prior approval in the following cases: Flaring or venting of associated gas in volumes equal to or less than 3 percent (IUGA greater than or equal to 97 percent) of monthly offshore production of associated gas in fields in operation five years before the date of the publication of the resolution (before January 17, 2025) and 2 percent (IUGA of 98 percent or greater) in fields that start production five years or later after the date of the publication of this resolution (after January 17, 2025) 1.5 percent (IUGA of 98.5 percent or greater) of the monthly associated gas handled by a marine production unit for lifting oil or received from other units in volumes equal to or greater than 50 percent of the volume of gas handled 3 percent (IUGA of 97 percent or greater) of the monthly onshore production of associated gas. When the volumes of associated gas flared are greater than those approved, but the new (or revised) IUGA is equal to or greater than the one considered in the most recent approved PAP. Flaring of petroleum or flaring or venting of natural gas during well testing with a flow period of 72 hours or less per interval tested. Flaring or venting of associated gas in fields that produce a total monthly volume equal to or less than that corresponding to an average flow rate of 5,000 m³/day as long as the field does not have wells with an average flow rate above 1,500 m³/day, for which a project using associated gas should be proposed. Flaring or venting of associated gas produced in onshore fields or marine production units with a gas-to-oil ratio of 20 m³ of gas per m³ of crude oil or less. Flaring for safety reasons. For onshore production units, a limit on a maximum monthly volume of 1,000 m³/day for each pilot/flare. The offshore limit is 2,000 m³/day for each pilot, provided that such pilots are operational. Articles 7–16 define the criteria and procedures for authorization and validation of extraordinary flares and circumstances under which extraordinary flaring and venting of associated gas are allowed without prior approval.

Section 3 of Directive 060, 2020 (“Temporary and Well Test Flaring and Incinerating”; see footnote 1) does not require a permit for unplanned nonroutine flaring and incineration, such as during process upsets and emergencies. In addition, the AER does not require permits for flaring at oil and bitumen batteries. Under certain other conditions (for example, compliance with the percentage of hydrogen sulfide limits or with the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives), permits are not required. These conditions are confirmed by the decision-tree tool adapted from CASA recommendations (Section 3 of AER Directive 060, 2020).

British Columbia’s Flaring and Venting Reduction Guideline  does not allow routine venting except under “the most exceptional circumstances.” If gas volumes are sufficient to sustain stable combustion, the gas should be flared or conserved. If venting is the only feasible alternative, it should meet the following requirements, set out in chapter 7 of the guideline: All continuous and temporary venting and their sources must be evaluated using the vent evaluation decision tree. Permit holders must burn all nonconserved volumes of gas if volumes and flow rates are sufficient to support stable combustion. The quantity and duration of vented gas must be minimized. A permit holder must have an adequate program for managing fugitive emissions. According to Section 1.10 of the guideline, entitled “Approvals and Notifications for Non-Conserving Facilities,” nonroutine flaring (such as for maintenance and emergencies) does not require a specific approval but may be subject to limitations specified in the facility permit. Permit holders should notify residents and the BCER of nonroutine flaring at facilities.

The definition of “waste” in the Canada Oil and Gas Drilling and Production Regulations, 2009 , includes gas flared or vented when it could have been economically recovered and processed or injected into an underground reservoir. Section 67 states that no operator should flare or vent gas unless an emergency requires it to do so. The CER must be notified in the daily drilling report, daily production report, or any other written or electronic form. The notification should include the volume of flared or vented gas. The same provisions can be found in the Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Drilling and Production Regulations, 2009 , and the Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Drilling and Production Regulations, 2009 . Section 48 of the Processing Plant Regulations requires companies to report to the CER within one week of any flaring of hydrocarbon gas occurrence or a by-product of the processing of hydrocarbon gas that occurs as a result of an emergency. Section 6 of the CER Event Reporting Guidelines, 2018, defines an emergency as any situation in which emergency or contingency procedures, such as process upsets because of automated or manual emergency shutdowns, were used. Also reportable are flaring events that may have a significant adverse effect on property, the environment, or safety. Companies are not required to report nonroutine flaring, such as that resulting from regulator-required maintenance. Provincial regulators have more specific guidelines on flaring and venting that do not require permits (see the case studies on Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan).

The Oil and Gas Conservation Regulations, 2012 , stipulate that gas flared or vented at an oil well or facility should not exceed 900 cubic meters (m³) a day unless it is an emergency and a reasonable level of precaution has been taken to protect human health, public safety, property, and the environment. Sections 6 and 7 of Directive PNG036: Venting and Flaring Requirements, 2019 , states that gas venting from a well or facility, including gas plants, is not permitted unless there is an emergency, and venting is required to protect human health, public safety, property, or the environment, including prevention of a fire or explosion.

Article 6 in MME Resolution 40066/2022  allows flaring during the exploration phase for testing purposes. Article 25 bans all venting during exploration except for safety and as part of drilling activities. Article 30 bans all venting during production. Article 34 cites safety and maintenance as the main reasons for exceptions. In all instances, the vented volumes and the underlying reasons for venting need to be reported.

Article 15 of the 2021 proposal  bans venting except for a select few situations, such as emergencies, malfunctions, technical requirements, or safety reasons (as amended by the EP; see footnote 3). Technical requirements cover “pneumatic devices and pumps, dry gas seals, compressors, atmospheric pressure storage tanks, or other components designed to vent”; liquids unloading; and other activities necessary for safe operations. The EP amendments to Article 15 include new paragraphs on equipment standards. The amendments also require replacing equipment with zero-emission alternatives (if they exist) by the end of 2026, and the use of only zero-emission pneumatic controllers and pumps at newly built, replaced, or refurbished sites. In any event, operators can vent only if flaring is not technically feasible or entails safety risks. Besides these circumstances, Article 15 allows flaring only in situations where re-injection, own use, gas processing, or dispatch of gas to market are not feasible for reasons other than economic profitability.