Nigeria Ends Gas Flaring by 2018

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Albert Akpan

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The federal governments targets 2018 to end gas flaring in Nigeria

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Feb 8, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT  |

ALL things being equal, gas flaring will end in Nigeria by 2018. This was the position of Dafe Sajebor, group general manager, Nigerian Petroleum Investment and Management Services, NAPIMS, and Sadler Mai-Bornu, managing director, National Petroleum Development Corporation, NPDC, when they appeared before a Senate panel investigating the activities of oil and gas agencies in the country.

The Senate Committee on Gas Resources had mandated the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and its subsidiaries to submit their detailed audited accounts for the past three years. As part of its ongoing investigation into the petroleum sector of the economy, the committee blamed the federal government agencies for the worsening gas flaring in the country, saying their inability to enforce payment of stipulated penalties on erring International Oil Companies, OICs, was mainly responsible for increased gas flaring.

Apart from the NNPC, its subsidiaries expected to submit the audited accounts are the NPDC, the NAPIMS, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, among others.

Senator Albert Akpan, chairman of the committee, who gave the directive, during the committee’s engagement with the agencies, said the request was in line with the mandate of the committee in its ongoing investigation into the activities of the agencies.

Akpan, who picked holes in the activities of the agencies since their establishments, said the accounts must be submitted as soon as possible to enable his committee meet the deadline given by the Senate.  He noted that the audited documents would afford the committee opportunity to know the joint venture funding and cost determination of the oil companies and government agencies.

“From here, we will know also who approves projects and how the projects are monitored and the mechanism for cost recovery and monitoring of the projects. Give us the submission of the gas that you have flared and each of your operators involved. The quality of gas flared, the operators, the terminal and the related penalties paid.”

He frowned at the 2016 budget of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, saying that the N3 billion earmarked by the agency for penalties for gas flaring, was grossly inadequate. But Ibe Kachikwu, group managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, during his ministerial screening on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, said that only availability of a gas policy would end flaring of the associated petroleum product in the country.

The NNPC had tried several options to curb the phenomenon but did not succeed due to certain limitations although kachikwu said he was passionate about ending gas flaring, not just because of its environmental problems but also the economic loses to the country. “Apart from being someone from the South-South for which the environment is a major concern to me, gas flaring cannot be a commercial way of dealing with the issue. Although we approached gas flaring from a position of penalty for flared gas, we need to begin to look at taking away flaring from a position of investment in the translation of flare to money.

“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 boss maintained 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 have 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.

With the latest report coming from NNPC subsidiaries, Nigerians are waiting to see how the corporation would end gas flaring within the next two years.

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