No evidence of specific performance requirements for flaring, venting, and methane emissions was found in the sources consulted. Most regulators, including NOPSEMA, the Northern Territory’s DEPWS, Victoria’s DEECA, and Western Australia’s DMIRS, require an environment plan for each proposed petroleum activity, the plan necessarily demonstrating reduction of emissions or environmental impacts and risks to levels that are ALARP or acceptable.

Section 7 of Directive 060, 2020  details performance requirements such as conversion efficiency, smoke emissions, ignition, and stack design for flaring and venting. They apply to flares and incinerators—including portable equipment used for temporary operations—in all upstream oil and gas industry systems for combusting sweet, sour, and acid gas during activities that include well completion, servicing, and testing. The AER has adopted CASA’s objective hierarchy and decision-tree framework for managing solution gas volumes and extended its application of the hierarchy to include flaring, incineration, and venting. The goal is to eliminate routine flaring, incineration, and venting. The objective hierarchy ranges from eliminating routine flaring, incineration, and venting of unburned gases to reducing the volume of such gas and improving the efficiency of the related systems.

Section 44 of the Drilling and Production Regulation, 2010 , sets performance standards for the flare stacks operated by permit holders of a well or a facility. It also specifies the measures to be considered if the hydrogen sulfide content of the gas to be flared exceeds 1 mole percent. Flare and incinerator systems installed after the date the regulation came into force must be designed and operated within limits specified by a professional licensed or registered engineer. Flaring should not result in the emission of black smoke. Section 2.6, “Site-Specific Requirements Related to Well Flaring,” and Chapter 6, “Performance Requirements,” of the Flaring and Venting Reduction Guideline  provide additional information, including engineering standards by the American Petroleum Institute and other professional organizations that can be used as references.

Directive S-20: Saskatchewan Upstream Flaring and Incineration Requirements, 2011 (last updated in June 2022; see footnote 18), provides comprehensive specifications for upstream oil and gas flaring and incineration performance, equipment spacing, and set-back distances, referencing engineering standards by the American Petroleum Institute and other professional organizations.

Article 57 of Executive Decree 1215, 2001 , states that flares should achieve complete gas combustion. The location, height, and direction of flares should be designed to minimize emissions and heat impact on the environment. At each gas flaring site, emissions will be periodically monitored. Under Title IV of Ministerial Agreement MEM-MEM-2022-0047-AM, 2022 , transitory provisions stipulated October 31, 2022, as the cutoff date for operators to deliver their plans for the progressive reduction of routine flaring (existing facilities) or the associated gas optimization plan (new facilities). Thereafter, existing assets are to achieve zero routine flaring by 2030.

In light of the novelty of methane emissions regulations, the EC introduces several requirements, which are to be implemented and upgraded within a certain period after these regulations come into effect. According to Article 4 of the 2021 proposal , EU Member States shall designate the competent authority (or authorities) and notify the EC within three months. Article 6, Paragraph 1, requires the competent authority (or authorities) to conduct the first inspection within 18 months. For inactive wells, Article 18 requires EU Member States to establish and publish an inventory within six months. Reports containing emission levels must be issued after 18 months and on March 30 every year thereafter. Amended Article 18, Paragraph 6 , requires Member States or the responsible parties to develop a mitigation plan to remediate, reclaim, and permanently plug inactive wells within 12 months. Plans should be implemented within 24 months of this regulation coming into force. In line with Article 12, operators must submit within 10 months the first monitoring report for source-level methane emissions using engineering estimates, within 12 months reports containing direct measurements of source-level methane emissions from operated assets, and within 24 months—and on March 30 every year thereafter—reports containing direct as well as site-level measurements. For nonoperated assets, these periods are 24 and 42 months. Article 14 of the 2021 proposal  requires operators to repair or replace all components found to be leaking methane. Any such action must be taken within five days after leak detection, and the effectiveness of any repairs must be verified no later than 15 days thereafter. The EP amendments  provide more specific guidelines on LDAR frequency and standards. For example, LDAR surveys must be conducted every two or four months for aboveground components depending on the detection limits introduced in new paragraphs of Article 14. LDAR surveys must be conducted every five months for underground components emitting more than 500 parts per million or 5 grams per hour of methane. Article 17, paragraph 1, requires operators to “install all flare stacks that uses combustion devices with an auto-igniter or continuous pilot and at least 99% destruction and removal efficiency for hydrocarbons” within 18 months of this regulation coming into force. Different requirements and timelines apply to coal mines.

Article 202 of the Environmental Code, 2021 , details the standards for permissible emissions. It also clarifies that these standards apply to all flares other than those deemed technologically unavoidable by the regulator, the Ministry of Energy. According to Article 200, local executive bodies have the power to “establish stricter environmental standards” for air emissions if local conditions warrant it. According to Article 39, emissions standards for facilities with an integrated environmental permit will be established based on the best available techniques as determined by the Bureau of Best Available Technologies (see section 13 of this case study).

Article 4 of the CNH Technical Provisions for the Use of Associated Natural Gas in the Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons  requires operators to conserve associated natural gas and sets technical standards. SEMARNAT and ASEA have technical and environmental standards regarding emissions from oil and gas operations. Articles 71–85 of the ASEA Guidelines for the Prevention and Comprehensive Control of Methane Emissions from the Hydrocarbons Sector  cover emissions control measures, such as requirements regarding fugitive emission detection systems and equipment, including the following: quarterly comprehensive leak-detection-and-repair programs replacement or installation of zero-emitting venting equipment prioritization of capture technologies over flaring to reduce emissions from tanks and other equipment standards for monitoring and reporting.

The PDO has followed the practice of minimizing routine flaring in new installations and the principle of reducing flaring and venting to as low a level as reasonably practicable. The Regulations on Air Pollution Control from Stationary Sources  set limits on six pollutants that can be emitted from flaring in petroleum fields and refineries. They also state that any combustion cannot emit smoke darker than “shade 1 on the Ringlemann Scale (20 percent opacity).”

Saudi Aramco engineering procedures and guidelines call for the deployment of flare systems that ensure the efficiency of hydrocarbon destruction and avoidance of nonroutine flaring during interrupted operations, under high gas line pressure, or for safety reasons. Article 5, Section 7, of the Executive Regulation for Air Quality , provides technical specifications of when the flaring of VOCs is allowed, as well as performance requirements for flare systems, such as expulsion velocity under various conditions.