By Kunle Akogun
Against the background of the perennial shift in the effective date of gas flaring policy in the country, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Monday accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) of frustrating the Federal Government’s efforts at installing equipment to monitor the production and utilisation of gas real time measurement.
Deputy Director, Technical Services of DPR, Mr. Dozie Irrechukwu, who made the accusation while briefing the Senate Committee on Gas, said contract for the device awarded in 2009 had only attained 8.3 per cent completion. Gas Real Time measurement was an electronic device used to monitor the quantity of gas produced at any particular time.
Irrechukwu said the IOCs including Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Chevron Nigeria Limited and Mobil Producing Company Limited, were using some techniques to slow down the installation of the real time units that would give accurate measurement of gas production and utilisation.
He said it was obvious that the companies did not want to shut down to allow the contractors survey and design the appropriate technology to be used.
Irrechukwu noted the IOCs were still using manual measurement which he said was far below the level of gas being produced and utilised.
He, however, noted that the project had not failed as some processes had been completed with the exception of installation of the real time units.
The Managing Director of Riverman Technologies Limited, contractor handling the project, Mr. Kingsley Itoro, told the committee that all efforts to access the facilities of the IOC’s had continued to meet brick wall.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu (PDP Abia), expressed concern over the inability of DPR to ensure that the contract was executed.
Nwaogu accused the DPR of not living up to their policing role in the oil industry.
She noted that it was appalling that after the federal government has decided to separate gas from oil production in order to generate additional revenue, the project has not seen the light of day four years after.
She lamented that of the 166 terminals that required real time measuring equipment only 10 representing 8.3 per cent had been completed.
“Gas production in Nigeria has been played down to the detriment of revenue derivable from it. How do you know the quantity of gas being produced and utilized without real time monitoring?
“We know we have more gas in Nigeria than oil and in every exploration gas is utilised,” Nwaogu said.
She noted that the purpose for the interaction was to find out real time gas status of the country and the project for the National Data Repository (NDR).
She said: “As a committee we want to know how effective you are monitoring oil and gas exploration in Nigeria. Are we getting value for money or are we depending on the IOCs to tell us how much they produce, flare and utilise?”
She blamed the DPR for not sanctioning the IOCs for denying the contractor access to their facilities.
“The blame is on DPR. If the IOCs are not obeying you to allow the contactor to do this all important job, who will they obey? Is it the contractor?
“If you are not putting on your policing cap in the oil industry, then we have to do something because the nation needs this money for development,” Nwaogu said.
The committee later mandated the DPR to make available to it the details of the contract, show in writing how they have policed the IOCs, what they want to do to bridge the time lag.