A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Gas flaring threatens nearly 30m lives in Niger Delta – Report

…Says Nigeria loses $2.5bn yearly to flaring

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

OpeOluwani Akintayo

16 May 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Gas flaring is threatening nearly 30 million lives in the Niger Delta, a new documentary by BudgIT has said.

According to the almost 3 minutes video clip titled “Gas Flaring in Nigeria: Stop the Soot”, the nearly 30 million lives face health hazards due to the menace.

Last week, Country Chairman, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, said just 25 percent of Nigeria’s gas reserve is currently being produced.

Nigeria has proven natural gas reserves of 5.47 trillion cubic meters as at 2016 and flares around 14.33 percent of gas produced.

“If it (gas flaring) continues at this rate, over 784.59 billion cubic meters of Nigerian gas will be flared into the Niger Delta communities and offshore regions in the next 75 years,” the documentary stated.

This, the video resolved, could mean more deaths and health complications in these communities due to toxic air breathe in by indigenes.

The Federal Government in its recently unveiled three-point strategy promised to end gas flaring by 2020. But, experts described the agenda as an “undue optimism”, insisting that elusive strategies and other inherent challenges, would ensure that the desire remained a pipe dream.

Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, while discussing the tripod strategy on how the state-owned company will tackle gas flaring in the oil sector in a paper he delivered at the just-concluded 50th Offshore Technology Conference, OTC, in Houston, United States, said gas flaring in Nigeria has reduced to 10 percent.

According to him, gas flaring has reduced significantly from 25% to 10% in the last decade.

A United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, report says approximately 600,000 people die yearly in Africa as a result of air pollution and gas flaring which is a key driver of air pollution in oil-producing communities, with Nigeria accounting for 40 percent of all gas flared in Africa.

Analysis by BudgIT extractive team shows that between 2001 and 2016, the volume of gas produced increased by 91.13 percent, whereas, the volume of gas flared reduced by only 38.06 percent.

According to Gas Flare Tracker, there are 22 flare sites across Nigeria today.

A visit by BudgIT to the Niger Delta in April 2017, showed that gas flares occur in close proximity with neighbourhoods, specifically in Polaku and Ogu communities in Bayelsa and Rivers states.

At current market rate and at Nigeria’s current 9.46 percent gas flare rate, the country stands to lose $2.5 billion yearly to gas flaring, according to the documentary.

Estimates show that if such continues at the current rate, the Nigerian government could lose as much as N9 trillion in the next ten years.

BudgIT findings have shown that it has become legal to flare gas in Nigeria without written permission to the minister of petroleum resources since 1984.

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