Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on gas flaring activities in Singapore by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment having regard to recent international studies released alongside the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) suggesting that gas flaring leads to toxic pollutants being released in the air which in turn endanger the health of people living near and far, whether gas flaring activities in Singapore should be reviewed.
1 Gas flaring refers to the controlled combustion of gases, most commonly in the oil and gas sector. We are aware of reports highlighting the impact of gas flaring from oil and gas drilling activities on air quality and human health.
2 There are no oil and gas drilling activities in Singapore. In Singapore, gas flaring takes place primarily at refineries and petrochemical plants as a safety measure, to prevent the dangerous build-up of gases during process upsets or to burn off excess gases that cannot be recovered and stored. Such flaring is typically much shorter in duration and involves smaller volumes of gas than in the case of flaring from oil and gas drilling activities.
3 Gas flaring is required to be carried out efficiently to minimise the emission of dark smoke and avoid affecting air quality and public health. The National Environment Agency (NEA) will take enforcement action against plants with flares that produce dark smoke more than three times a day, or when the dark smoke lasts 5 minutes or more within any one-hour period.
4 Singapore’s ambient air quality is monitored through a network of air monitoring stations, including in the western region of Singapore, where there are industries that may need to conduct gas flaring. Primary pollutants generated from gas flaring, such as particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide are tracked under the basket of pollutants in the Pollutant Standards Index. The overall ambient air quality in the west region has remained in the ‘Good’ to ‘Moderate’ range since 2020.