Gas policy can end flaring in Nigeria – NNPC

03 November 2015, Abuja – The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said that only the availability of appropriate gas policy can end gas flaring in the country.

Shell gas flare at Kolo Creek - surrounded by agricultural fields.

Gas flarng by Shell at Kolo Creek, surrounded by agricultural fields.

This comes as France Ambassador for Climate Change (Africa), Mr. Stephane Gompertz, said that Nigerian government must caution all relevant authorities to drastically limit gas emissions because of its consequences on the environment.

Gas flaring in Nigeria has continued after many unrealisedd deadlines set by the federal government. According to Kachikwu, the NNPC had tried several options to curb the phenomenon but did not succeed due to certain limitations.

He said that he was passionate about ending gas flaring because it not only poses environmental problems but brings losses to Nigeria economically. “Apart from being someone from the South-South where the degradation of the environment is a major concern, gas flaring cannot be a commercial way of dealing with the issue. Although we try to end gas flaring by imposing penalty on companies which flare gas, we need to begin to look at taking away flaring from a position of investment that will change gas flaring into a money making venture.

“To stop flaring, we need investment and a lot of that money is not there; so, we need to provide a National Master Gas Plan, which must be gazette; a gas plan which must be put into action to enable us move forward. The single most important deterrent to gas flaring in this country is the absence of policy, the absence of status, master plan and incentives,” he said.

Kachikwu also noted that countries like Qatar and United Arab Emirates, UAE, are moving rapidly in their gas development, leaving Nigeria behind. As such, he insisted that the right incentives must be created for Nigeria to fully launch itself as one of the major gas producers rather than a gas-flaring nation.

The GMD explained that the nation must embrace gas now, both for local consumption and for external supplies as the era of oil is beginning to slide. “If we don’t sign up to them now, in 10 years when we are ready, there will be no market to take them. If we continue to be tied to the prison yard of no changes, because of the ramifications of what makes business sense, this country will grind to a halt. We should be bold enough to take the political will to make the changes, and in any revolution, we have individuals who may be innocent in the process of the change,” he said.

While urging Nigeria to reduce gas flaring, the French ambassador also encouraged the country to increase investments in renewable energy.

According to Gompertz, many oil companies in the country still flared their gas; thereby polluting the environment with its attendant consequences.

“There are some areas in which emissions could be limited drastically like gas flaring, which is the most striking example. It is a pity to see so many oil plants where gas continues to run and this is obviously a waste of energy and a waste of money.

“It (gas flaring) pollutes the atmosphere. Clearly some efforts are required. Other perspective is that it is good for the gas to be recuperated and then sold in the market. Perhaps, there should be fine for defaulting companies, which do not comply with the rules and regulations.

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