The Senate has mandated its Committee on Gas to review upwards and recommend immediately penalties for defaulters of the nation’s gas flaring laws.
The legislative move is intended to be a desirable step towards deterring abuses by operators and exploring the opportunities in the gas sub-sector of the hydrocarbon resources to national development advantage
The upper chamber reached the resolution on Wednesday during plenary after consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Betty Apiafi on the matter titled ‘The need to monitor the Nigerian Flare Commercialization Programme towards ending Gas Flaring by 2020’
Following deliberations on the motion, the upper chamber of the Legislature directed its committee, which has Senator James Manager as Chairman, to monitor the implementation of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme (NGFCP).
In addition, it also advised the Federal Government to intensify efforts to diversify from crude oil production to natural gas alternative
Senator Apiafi, while drawing the attention of the Senate to laws against flaring of associated natural gas in the country, lamented the manner in which such laws were being flouted by International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country.
She cited Section 3(1) of the Gas Re-injection Act introduced in 1984 which states that “no company engaged in the production of oil and gas shall after January 1, 1984 flare gas produced in association with or without the permission in writing of the minister.” to make her viewpoints on the matter clear.
While bemoaning the huge revenue loss the country had been suffering over the years due to unbridled gas flares, the the lawmaker disclosed that in 2018 alone, based on data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Federal Government recorded a revenue loss to the tune of N197 billion from a total of 215.9 billion standard cubic feet (s/cf) of natural gas flared.
The Senator said: “Nigeria has the largest Natural Gas Reserve in Africa and the ninth largest in the world.
“Nigeria’s gas reserves are about three times the value of her crude oil reserves with a value of around 202 trillion cubic feet (TFT) of proven Natural gas reserves, but despite having the largest gas reserves in Africa, only about 25 percent of these reserves are being produced or under development today”, the lawmaker added.
The lawmaker linked lack of enforcement of the laws on gas flaring in previous years to the challenges facing the government in its projected deadline of 2020 to end routine associated gas flaring in the country.