Stories by Michael Eboh & Ediri Ejoh
Federal Government has been accused of failing to show the necessary commitment needed to end gas flaring in the Nigerian petroleum industry.
This was the view of former Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Mr. Ransome Owan and other experts at the just-concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, in Abuja.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, also agreed that there is lack of commitment, but exonerated the Federal Government, while it indicted domestic gas buyers, especially the power sector for the slowdown in deepening gas utilisation in the country.
In his submission at one of the panel sessions, Mr. Owan stated that gas flare persists in Nigeria because the nation has not made commitment to ending the infraction.
He noted that there are presently no infrastructure to harness gas in most of the oil fields in the country, a major factor, which according to him, was promoting gas flaring.
Owan added that Nigeria had not been able to effectively utilise the West African Gas Pipeline to evacuate gas to Ghana and other countries along the pipeline, noting that this might negatively affect the country’s quest to supply gas to Europe through the proposed Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project.
Also speaking, Mr. Dayo Adeshina, Programme Manager, National Liquefied Petroleum Gas Expansion Plan, lamented that there was a huge disparity in LPG supply in Nigeria, noting that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG presently supplies LPG to three main terminals in Lagos, while majority of LPG consumed in the country is transported to remote locations through roads by trucks.
He called for the setting up of the necessary infrastructure to deepen LPG penetration across the country, thereby, promoting gas utilisation.
However, Chief Operations Officer, Gas and Power, of the NNPC, Mr. Saidu Mohammed, argued that gas producers and pipeline operators are committed to ending gas flaring by boosting gas supply.
Specifically, he noted that on an average basis, the NNPC supplies about 3.6 billion standard cubic feet, SCF, of gas daily to the NLNG, while it supplies about 1.3 billion SCF of gas to the domestic market daily, which would sometimes be utilised and sometimes ignored.
He said: “The liquidity issues of the Nigerian power sector is affecting everybody. The problem with the gas industry is the domestic market. The NLNG is doing well with gas and everybody down the chain in that line of business is happy.
“To address this challenge, I am of the view that everyone should commit to contracts.”
It is becoming increasingly difficult for some buyers to abide by contractual terms in the domestic market and this should be addressed. Commitment to contract is what is moving the NLNG forward.”