By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
THE Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Â Â Â Rilwanu Lukman has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to stop gas flaring at the nationâ€™s 187 oil flow stations through the vehicle of the accelerated Gas Development Projects.
Lukman disclosed this resolve on Wednesday at a stakeholders meeting on the Actualization of the Accelerated Gas Development Projects convened by the Ministry in Abuja.
The Minister disclosed that the projects were conceived as a window to stop gas flaring on one hand, and on the other hand to provide feedstock for improved power generation and other industrial and economic uses.
While acknowledging the challenges the sector had faced in the immediate past and the success of the Amnesty programme, he said, â€œThe success of the programme had convinced us that with these accelerated Gas Development Projects, we can get more gas to be supplied for power generation and for our industries.â€ He stated further that, â€œThe accelerated gas projects is backed by Government and would materialize without prejudice to the gas Master plan as they were designed as integrated and complementary to the gas Master plan.â€
He therefore re-emphasized the importance of the projects and noted that the challenges being faced by the stakeholders especially the 15 selected private gas investors were undoubtedly surmountable.Â Lukman thus sought their cooperation and support toward the actualization of the gas projects.Â Â In the same vein, stakeholders were reminded to work towards the March 31, 2010 agreed deadline for the signing of the definitive Agreement o the projects.
Stakeholders at the meeting had earlier informed the Minister of the catalogue of problems being faced which amongst others are the need for the revalidation of data on location and availability of gas from the flow stations across the country.
Present at the meeting were officials from the Ministry, Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters, agencies under the supervision of the Ministry, representatives of the international oil companies, as well as the representatives of the (15) fifteen selected private gas investors and the United State Embassy.
The Ministry on behalf of the Federal Government had earlier signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the 15 private investors to carryout short term gas projects at various locations in the Niger Delta region.
It would be recalled that government has repeatedly set and shifted the target date for elimination of gas flaring in the upstream sub-sector of the oil industry.
The inability of the joint venture operators to eliminate randome gas flaring is inextricably tied to government’s inability to meet its joint venture funding obligations