Abuja — Nigeria’s plan to commercialise gas burned from its oil fields is at an advanced stage and would help cut 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions from the atmosphere, the petroleum minister said on Tuesday after meeting U.S. climate envoy John Kerry.
Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria is also the continent’s major oil producer. The West African nation has been trying to harness gas belching from its oil fields so it can be exported or used to generate power but has been hobbled by lack of finance.
Timipre Sylva told reporters after a meeting with Kerry in Abuja that there was “some moral basis” for Nigeria to get funding from rich nations to meet its climate change goals.
“We are trying to bring down gas flaring. Gas flaring commercialization programme is at an advanced stage, which is going to take out about 15 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, which is one of our biggest contributions to global gas emissions,” said Timipre.
Kerry said Nigeria’s decisions on curbing gas emissions will impact how other African nations proceed with their own plans.
The United States and European Union last year launched the Global Methane Pledge, an initiative to cut emissions of the potent greenhouse gas by at least 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels, aimed at tackling one of the main causes of climate change.
“I’m here to say that what you decide to do in the future going forward will have a profound impact on the choices of all countries in Africa. And it will have a profound impact in our ability, all of us together, to solve this problem,” he said.
Nigeria has previously said it could be losing $1 billion in revenue annually due to flaring, which also adds to extreme environmental pollution in the oil-producing Niger Delta region.
* MacDonald Dzirutwe Editing by Nick Zieminski
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