Ibe Kachiukwu advocates for a gas policy that will end gas flaring in the country through investments that will turn the gas flared into a money making venture
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Oct 26, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
GAS flaring in Nigeria has continued after several deadlines set by the federal government to end it has passed. But Ibe Kachikwu, group managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is of the view that only the availability of a gas policy can end gas flaring in the country. Kachikwu stated this during his ministerial screening on Wednesday, October 14.
According to him, the NNPC had tried several options to curb the phenomenon but did not succeed due to certain limitations. He said that he was passionate about ending gas flaring because it not only poses environmental problems but Nigeria losses economically. “Apart from being someone from the South-South where the degradation of environment is a major concern, gas flaring cannot be a commercial way of dealing with the issue. Although we try to end gas flaring by imposing penalty on companies which flare gas, we need to begin to look at taking away flaring from a position of investment that will change gas flaring into a money making venture.
“To stop flaring, we need investment and a lot of that money is not there; so, we need to provide a National Master Gas Plan, which must be gazetted, a gas plan which must be put into action to enable us move forward. The single most important deterrent to gas flaring in this country is the absence of policy, the absence of status, master plan and incentives,” he said.
According to Kachikwu, countries like Qatar and United Arab Emirates are moving fairly rapidly in their gas development, leaving Nigeria behind. He, therefore, insisted that the right incentives must be created for the nation to fully launch itself as one of the major gas producers rather than a gas-flaring nation.
The NNPC group managing director stressed that the nation must embrace gas now, both for local consumption and for external supplies as the era of oil is beginning to slide. “If we don’t sign up to them now, in 10 years when we are ready, there will be no market to take them. If we continue to be tied to the prison yard of no changes, because of the ramifications of what makes business sense, this country will grind to a halt. We should be bold enough to take the political will to make the changes, and in any revolution, we have individuals who may be innocent in the process of the change,” he said.
Supporting, Babs Omotowa, managing director, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, said that the problem of gas flaring is beyond what the government can handle alone. He disclosed that the efforts of the NLNG have reduced gas flaring significantly from 65 to 20 percent.
Omotowa, who stated this on Wednesday, October 14, when the management of NLNG paid a courtesy visit to Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, chief of naval staff, said, “We don’t produce gas. We buy gas ourselves by the coming of Nigeria LNG we have been able to help to bring down gas flaring significantly. Before we came in we were flaring about 65 percent, since we came in and the efforts we put in place have brought it down about 20 percent level.
“But the effort of gas flaring is beyond Nigeria NLG and sort issue needed to be taken upon by the various authorities. We commend the Nigerian Navy for the support we have been getting in more than 25 years of our operations. Without their support all the contributions that we make today will truly not be possible.”