NOSDRA to be empowered to address gas flaring – D-G

Shell Gas Flare, Nigeria25 December 2013, Abuja – A new amendment is underway to empower the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA through its act in order to address the problem of gas flaring in the country.

The Director-General of NOSDRA, Mr Peter Idabor, who disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja on Tuesday, said the issue of gas flaring had been the subject of discussions for a very long time now.

He said that oil companies were looking at the cost implication of tackling the problem especially since gas could be harnessed to generate electricity.

“Gas gathering can power the turbines that will produce the much needed electricity for this country.

“I believe in a short period of time, the issue of gas flaring will be minimised; you cannot talk about zero flare.”

In the interim, he advised oil companies to use scrubbers to filter raw gas coming from their plants to reduce gas flaring in the country.

According to him, scrubbers are a diverse group of air pollution control devices that can be used to remove some particulates and or gases from industrial exhaust streams.

The director-general said that the scrubber would help to filter raw gas causing environmental pollution.

He said that technology would also help to hold back some heavier molecules that could cause more damage to the environment.

“My own recommendation has always been that they should attach what is called scrubber, enough scrubbers not to allow the crude gas coming out from the ground to just burn with so much smoke.

“There are some chemical products that are associated with those gases; so if they put scrubber at the mouth, they will filter it and (the gas will) burn in a better way.

“What we are saying is that oxide of carbon, oxide of sulphur, oxide of nitrogen are being spilled into the environment and this could cause acid rain; so it is a problem.“

The director-general told NAN that NOSDRA had been working hard to address the problem of oil spills in the Niger Delta.

He explained that all stakeholders, including NOSDRA, the community and the oil companies, among others, were involved in determining the cause of a spill and the information signed by all the parties.

“After that, we ask the oil companies to contain the spills with immediate effect as soon as they receive the information.

“The oil is contained and the environment is cleaned and if necessary, remediated to its original form before the spill.”

NAN reports that NOSDRA was established by Act No. 15 of 2006 by the Federal Government, to address environmental degradation and devastation of the coastal ecosystem, especially in the oil-producing areas of the Niger-Delta region.

NOSDRA is statutorily empowered to coordinate oil spill management and ensure the implementation of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, NOSCP, for Nigeria, in accordance with the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, OPRC, 1990, which Nigeria has ratified.

The NOSCP is a blueprint for checking oil spills through containment, recovery and remediation/restoration.

It was drafted in 1981 and first reviewed in 1997 and further reviewed in 2000 and 2006, respectively.

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