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Nigeria lost $5.6bn to gas flare in 8 years – Dr. Salako

*Flared 1.6 billion MT of gas since 2016 *Released 86m MT CO2, 31m MT methane

By George George Idowu

The Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Salako, has reemphasized federal government’s commitment in ending gas flaring in Nigeria as soon as possible but not later than 2030 and he subsequently called on all relevant stakeholders in the oil and gas industry within the upstream sector in achieving this fate.

He made this known at the median edition of quarterly reporting of carbon footprint reduction initiatives organized by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) in Abuja on Thursday.

He said: “Data extracted from gas flares between 2016 and the present shows that 1.621 billion metric tonnes of gas, worth $5.654 billion, has been flared, contributing 86 million metric tonnes of CO2 and 31.3 million tonnes of methane to the atmosphere.

“This scenario is unacceptable both environmentally and economically,” Salako added.

The minister explained the significant move to enhance accountability and revenue generation in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, which has led to the introduction of a new mechanism for fact-checking gas flare volumes in Nigeria.

The mechanism called the Nigerian Gas Flare Tracker (NGFT) tool, which identifies gas flare sites, quantifies CO2 emissions, and estimates the economic value and power generation potential of the flared gas.

Salako emphasized the importance of accurate data in addressing the environmental and economic challenges posed by gas flaring.

The newly developed mechanism employs a Hybrid Emissions Data Gathering Approach, combining satellite and ground-based data to ensure the precision and reliability of emission reports.

In his words: “As a monitoring mechanism, reporting on a quarterly basis to NOSDRA which serves as the secretariat saddled with the responsibility to fast-track the gas flare-down dates of oil and gas operators in Nigeria is expected.

“This will enable Nigeria to achieve its goal on the nation’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP), which defines a pathway to achieving a net zero target in 2060.

He reiterated President Tinubu desire to eliminate gas flare in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector as a part of country’s contribution to the global push to reduce methane emissions made at COP28.

The minister highlighted other economic alternatives to gas flaring, which Nigerians can make use of in the fight against carbon emission.

“let me draw your attention to the many safe and economical alternative to gas flaring such as using the gas for secondary oil recovery, feed stock for petrochemical plants, domestic uses, liquified petroleum gas, and compressed natural gas, as well as energy conservation by storing as gas hydrate for future use and other purposes.”

Salako further stated that they will be using a penalty and reward approach in the fight as oil and gas sectors, individuals found wanting in flaring of gas.

Similarly, the outing director general and CEO of NOSDRA, Idris Musa, said this quarterly reporting initiative will help to overcome some of the regulatory gaps in the oil and gas regulations that inspired Mr. President to sign Executive Orders on competitiveness and corruption, initiating amendment of primary legislations in the oil & gas sector.

In his words: “When they make this quarterly presentation, we will be able to see how much effort they are putting at utilizing and then clearing down.”

He expressed his dissatisfaction with some of the challenges that the people of the communities were where these oil and gas operators find themselves.

He lamented a lack of agricultural produces and health challenges as a result of the flaring of gas there.

He, however, stressed that it is possible for Nigeria to be carbon free earlier than the stipulated date.

He added that this effort will catalyse smarter gas utilization projects for sustainable energy access provision as well as prepare and ensure compliance readiness to new EU regulations on methane emission capture that might affect gas export agenda of Nigeria.

In the same vein, several oil and gas company made a presentation on the effort they have made thus far in reducing carbon emission. They include Antan producing limited, platform petroleum, OML, Chorus energy, and NEPL.

As Nigeria navigates these complex environmental challenges, NOSDRA’s innovative approach sets a promising precedent for achieving a greener and more prosperous future.


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