OrderPaperToday – with Nigeria being the largest natural gas reserve in Africa and 9th largest in the world, the Senate has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to intensify efforts to diversify from crude oil to natural gas production.
The Senate also urged the government to reduce gas flaring in the Niger Delta as it is destroying the lives and livelihood of inhabitants of host communities.
This is just as it mandated its Committee on Gas to monitor the implementation of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGCFP) and recommended penalties for non-compliance with global best practices in crude oil extraction.
This was sequel to the adoption of the resolutions of a motion moved by Senator Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers) and 47 others on “the need to monitor the Nigerian Flare Commercialisation Programme towards ending Gas flaring by 2020”.
Apiafi, while moving the motion, explained that gas flaring is the burning of natural gas associated with the extraction of crude oil. She revealed that data from the World Bank Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership 2018, indicate that Nigeria is the sixth largest gas flaring country globally and the second largest in Africa after Algeria.
“Flaring of associated natural gas is quite simply burning money. In 2018 alone, according to data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Oil and gas firms operating in the country flared a total of 215.9 billion standard cubic feet (SCF) of natural gas amounting to a revenue loss of over N197 billion.
“Nigeria has the largest natural gas reserve in Africa and 9th largest in the world. Nigeria’s gas reserves are about three times the value of her crude oil reserves with a value of around 202 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven natural gas reserves but despite having the largest gas reserves in Africa, only about 25% of those reserves are being produced or are under development today,” she said.
Speaking further, the Rivers Senator expressed concerns that gas flares have been wreaking havoc across communities in the Niger-Delta since the early 1960’s. She added that the failure of the Government to enforce laws against gas flaring has exposed people living around nearby flare sites to various respiratory disorders, harmed the environment through air pollution, destroyed farmlands, damaged crops and cost the country trillions of naira in revenues.
She, however, made a case for positive usage of gas resources, stating that “Natural gas as an alternative to crude oil has so many recompenses. Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, it is safer and easier to store, it is an extremely reliable energy supply source, it causes less damage to humans and the environment, it is widely available and in abundance in Nigeria”.
In addition, Apiafi observed that Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP), launched in 2016 by the Federal Government aims to provide a commercial approach for the elimination of routine gas flares by 2020.
“The strategy is to achieve social environmental and economic impacts in the Niger Delta region by mobilising private sector capital towards gas flare capture projects.
“Lack of enforcement of the laws on gas flaring in previous years is thwarting the Governments’ projected deadline of 2020 to end routine associated gas flaring. The year 2019 is coming to an end and there seems to be a lack of commitment to enforce the laws on gas flaring still, so it is therefore very necessary for affirmative action to be taken through fines, penalties and alternative technology investments to achieve the 2020 date,” she concluded.