May 10, 2017

2020 Gas Flaring Exit: Reps to interface with petroleum ministry

The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, mandated its Committee on Gas and Petroleum Resources to interface with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to actualize the 2020 glaring flaring deadline in Nigeria.

This followed a motion by Rep. Johnson Agbonayinma (Edo-PDP), who said that World Bank data ranked Nigeria second among countries among largest gas-flaring nations.

Agbonayinma told the house that the record revealed that Nigeria emitted over four billion dollars worth of gas annually.

He said that the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), in its 2014 Oil and Gas Report, disclosed that in 2008, the Federal Government placed 3.5 dollars per 1,000 Standard Cubic Feet (SCF) of gas flared penalty.

The lawmaker said that regrettably, oil companies had refused to comply with the regulation.

He said that gas-flaring accounted for about 50 per cent of all industrial emissions in the country and 30 per cent of the total “C02 emissions’’ which were harmful to humans, economy and environment.

Agbonayinma added that the government had failed to enforce the laws against gas flaring, which had exposed humans to various respiratory disorders, harmed the environment and caused the country loss of over N3 trillion.

“Also aware that as much as conversion of gas that is currently flared into cash is not just about penalties, there is need to provide an environment conducive for legal and regulatory purposes,’’ he said.

He said that the figure from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) revealed that gas flared in 2015 alone was capable of generating about 3,500 megawatts of electricity or an equivalent of three trains of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

This, according to him, represents a loss of over one billion dollars or over 60 million barrels of oil.

He called for increased penalties for infractions on the gas-flaring regulation if the 2020 deadline would be achieved.

The legislator, however, pointed out that doubts had been expressed by industry players that government officials were not taking aggressive steps required to actualize the target date.

“This gas flaring has caused so much death in Nigeria. It is disheartening to allow gas flaring in this country. We have failed to have allowed it.

“God has blessed us with mineral resources yet we are unable to utilise it. Instead, we have deviated and brought corruption into the country,” he said.

In his contribution, Rep. Peter Akpatason (Edo-APC) said “this is happening in other countries, but with great commitment from the organisations and countries involved.

“What we are seeing in this country is lack of commitment of relevant organisations in stopping the gas flaring.”

The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

The committee mandated to look into the matter is expected to report back within eight weeks.