- Senate Decries $2.5bn Annual Loss to Gas Flaring
The Senate has decried the loss of over $2.5bn to the flaring of estimated two billion standard cubic feet of flared gas annually.
It said this accounted for about 19 per cent of the total volume of gas flared globally.
This was made known at a one-day public hearing on the Gas Flaring Prohibition Bill, 2017 organised by the Senate Committee on Gas in Abuja on Wednesday.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Bassey Akpan, in his opening remarks, said statistics showed that Nigeria was leading in gas flaring among the member nations of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
He, however, noted that Nigeria’s estimated 188 billion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserve made it the country with the ninth largest concentration of the natural resource in the world.
Akpan added that the absence of reliable data had made it difficult to gauge the magnitude of the damage caused by gas flaring in the country.
According to him, due to unsustainable exploration practices coupled with the lack of gas utilisation infrastructure, Nigeria flares more than 75 per cent of the gas produced and re-injects only 12 per cent to enhance oil recovery.
“This has reportedly costs Nigeria over $25bn annually as well as contributing to air pollution, heat, rainforest damage and climate change. In the more than 1,000 oil fields located across the country, the towering flames resulting from gas burning now seem to the local villagers as an inevitable consequence of oil production,” Akpan said.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who declared the hearing opened, described gas flaring as an embarrassment to the country.
Saraki, who was represented by the Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Ibn Bala Na’Allah, stated that there was no reason why the country should continue to flare gas in this age and time, considering its short and long-term consequences.
He stated, “The issue of gas flaring in Nigeria is a matter of great national embarrassment. We have no reason to continue to flare this precious resource God has endowed us with. This bill, therefore, seeks to make provisions for the prohibition of the flaring and venting of natural gas in any oil and gas production operation in Nigeria and for other matters connected therewith.
“Gas flaring is as old as the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria. While it remains a global environmental malaise with attendant environmental consequences, we must move with the rest of the world to seriously put an end to it. Gas flaring is not inevitable.
“Whilst statistics may not be accurate, the quantity of gas flared in Nigeria exceeds over 40 per cent of the gas flared annually across Africa, which amounts to about $7bn in waste. Apart from economic waste being a consequence of gas flaring, flared gas is also known to contain toxic substances, which cause respiratory diseases and air pollution, leading to the depletion of the ozone layer, ultimately having an adverse effect on weather and climate. Only God knows how many of our citizens have lost their lives as a result of gas flaring.”