The federal government has been urged to intensify efforts to diversify from crude oil to natural gas production.
This is coming as the Senate also mandated its Committee on Gas, chaired by Senator James Manager (PDP Delta South) to immediately review and recommend upward penalty for defaulters of gas flaring laws in the country.
The upper legislative chamber, on Wednesday however, resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee with the mandate to monitor the implementation of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme, NGFCP.
It also agreed to review and recommend upwards penalty for non-compliance in line with global best practices.
These were sequel to the adoption of a motion on “The need to monitor the Nigerian flare commercialization programme towards ending gas flaring by 2020” sponsored by Senator Betty Apiafi, (PDP Rivers West) and co-sponsored by 47 other lawmakers.
Presenting the motion, Senator Apiafi noted that gas flaring is the burning of natural gas that is associated with the extraction of crude oil.
She said the data obtained from the World Bank Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership in 2018, indicated that Nigeria was the sixth largest gas flaring country globally and the second largest in Africa after Algeria.
According to her, there were long standing laws against the flaring of associated natural gas in Nigeria which action had been deemed illegal since 1984.
“Section 3(1) of the Associated Gas Re-injection Act, CAP A25 LFN 2004 states that no company engaged in the production of oil and gas shall after January 1, 1984 flare gas produced in association with or without the permission in writing of the minister,” she stressed.
Senator Apiafi, who said it was a concern about the huge revenue loss due to unrelenting gas flares in the country, added that flaring of associated natural gas was simply burning of 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 N197billion,” she further explained.
She noted that Nigeria has the largest natural gas reserve in Africa and ninth 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 of proven natural gas reserves but despite having the largest gas reserves in Africa, only about 25 per cent of those reserves are been produced or are under development today,” she added.
She said the Niger Delta region gas flares have been wreaking havoc across communities since the early 1960s.
“Gas flaring results in the release of methane which is accompanied by other greenhouse gases that account for about 50 per cent of all industrial emissions in the country and 30 per cent of the total C02 emissions which are harmful to humans,” she added.
Senator Apiafi said the emission was also affecting the economy and the environment.
She said the failure of the government to enforce laws against gas flaring had exposed people living around nearby flare sites to various respiratory disorders, harmed the environment through air pollution, destroyed farmlands and damaged crops.
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