Statoil and several other oil companies and nations joined together to commit, for the first time, to end the practice of routine gas flaring at oil production sites by 2030.
CEO Eldar Sætre represented Statoil at the signing at the World Bank in Washington together with Norwegian foreign minister Børge Brende.
'Meeting the target of zero routine flaring by 2030 is a highly important contribution our industry can make towards mitigating climate change,' Sætre said in his speech in Washington.
'In our operations in Norway we do not carry out any routine flaring. This leading performance was made possible by a government determined to avoid waste and maximise value from its natural resources,' Sætre continued.
In 1971 Norway banned routine flaring. Coupled with a price on carbon equivalent of USD 65/ton CO2 today, these measures provided the necessary incentives for both the government and the industry to invest in production and export of gas.
But globally every year, around 140 billion cubic metres of associated natural gas is wastefully burned or 'flared' at thousands of oil fields.
This results in more than 300 million tons of CO2 being emitted to the atmosphere - equivalent to emissions from approximately 77 million cars.
Together with Statoil and Norway, eight other oil companies and eight other countries have endorsed the initiative recognising that routine gas flaring is unsustainable from a resource management and environmental perspective.
They have all agreed to cooperate to eliminate ongoing routine flaring as soon as possible and no later than 2030.