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Govt committed to elimination of gas flaring by 2021, says Sylva

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, says the Federal Government is committed to ensuring the elimination of gas flaring from Nigeria’s oil and gas fields by 2021.

Timipre Sylva
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva

Sylva said that the move had the potential for enormous multiplier and development outcomes for Nigeria, saying it would create jobs and help curb environmental pollution.

The minister spoke on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at the Virtual 26th Nigerian Economic Summit Pre-Summit event on “Domestic Gas Utilisation and Commercialisation: Implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions Sectoral Action Plan for Energy.”

The United Nations has set a deadline of 2030 for the world to exit gas flaring.

Sylva said Nigerian Gas Reserves were at 200.79TCF as of Jan. 1 2019 with associated gas reserves slightly above 50 per cent and a total reserves life index of 92 years as of 2018.

According to him, the country is also one of the top 10 global gas flaring nations (flaring stood at 321.29BCF representing around 10 per cent  to 11 per cent of total produced gas).

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Sylva said the government had demonstrated its commitment to ending gas flaring with the development of the National Gas Policy and setting up of  the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP).

He said: “The NGFCP is designed as the strategy to implement the policy objectives of the government for the elimination of gas flares from Nigeria’s oil and gas fields in the near term (two to three years), with potentially enormous multiplier and development outcomes for Nigeria.

“It is also designed as the contribution of the petroleum sector to Nigeria’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement (COP21).

“It is a unique and historic opportunity to attract major investment in economically viable gas flare capture projects whilst permanently addressing a 60-year environmental problem in Nigeria.”

The minister said the gas being flared was an important part of the global energy transition and the closest ally to renewables, stressing that the UN had described energy as central to every major global challenge.

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He said: “Be it for jobs, security, climate change, food production or increasing incomes, access to energy for all is essential.

“Nevertheless, even today, little or no access to energy deprives part of the world’s population of the opportunity to improve their quality of life.

“It is based on this premise and other detrimental impacts of gas flaring in the country that the Federal Government took a policy position that gas flaring is unacceptable and will no longer tolerate it.”

A critical aspect of the National Gas Policy is to reduce gas flaring by harnessing flared gas to stimulate economic growth, drive investments and provide jobs for Nigerians through the utilisation of widely available innovative technologies.”

Sylva said to demonstrate commitment to the NGFCP, President Muhammadu Buhari developed and signed into operation the Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations 2018 as the underpinning legislation to drive the NGFCP process.

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He said the Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations 2018 introduces a new payment regime (penalties) for gas flaring which adopts the “polluter pays” principle and mimics a carbon tax.

Sylva noted that the  NGFCP utilised a commercialisation approach to promote the utilisation of gas via nimble, skid mounted, plug and play solutions that could easily be deployed on-site to harness gas that would erstwhile be flared.

He said this would introduce new dynamics to the utilisation of gas in Nigeria especially, the boosting of the domestic utilisation of natural gas.

“The first phase of the bidding round for the flare sites has reached an advanced stage with investor proposals and would shortly be evaluated with successful companies awarded a permit to access flare gas,” the minister said.

By Solomon Asowata

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