By Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Nigeria has in the last 10 years dropped from being the second highest gas flaring nation in the world to now occupy the seventh position, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) disclosed yesterday.
According to the NNPC in a statement from its Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, the country between 2006 and 2016, succeeded in reducing gas flare from her oil and gas fields by 26 percent within the 10-year period.
It explained that from 36 per cent flare rate it recorded between the periods, the country now flares only 10 per cent of gas from her fields in the Niger Delta.
The NNPC’s report was also corroborated by the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR), which indicated that as at the close of 2015, Russia, Iraq, Iran, the United States, Venezuela and Algeria were the six other countries ahead of Nigeria in global gas flaring.
Notwithstanding, the NNPC said in the statement that the rate of reduction was part of efforts to preserve the country’s environment, and monitise her gas resources.
The statement was provided to THISDAY in Abuja, and it noted that in explaining the gas flare reduction trend, NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Mallam Bello Rabiu, noted that as at 2006 Nigeria was flaring 2.5 billion standard cubic feet (bcf) of gas, while consuming only 300 million (mscf) of gas per day.
Rabiu however stated that a raft of technological innovation had helped the industry to record a drastic flare down.
He added that the drastic reduction was achieved through aggressive gas commercialisation which is anchored on the country’s gas master plan.
He said: “The gas master plan was geared towards addressing four key critical issues of gas availability, infrastructure, commercialisation framework and gas affordability.”
Rabiu further explained that though the implementation of the plan was driven by NNPC, it was however sponsored by all the oil and gas companies operating in the country, adding that this has helped in addressing some of the issues that were confronting the gas sector.
He stated that in order to ensure gas affordability, the plan stipulates a lower price for gas to the power sector which is the most important economic segment of the country, while other sectors get gas at commercial rates.
This measure, according to him, was to ensure that gas producers get value for the gas they produce for sale.
On other actions by the government to end gas flaring in the country, Rabiu said government had also designed a national gas policy which would among other things end gas flaring by 2020.
He explained that the policy had been circulated to all operators to guide them on the direction of the government with regard to how it wants the nation’s abundant gas resources deployed.
He said the policy document was being studied by all stakeholders in order to put them on the same page with the government.
Rabiu also informed that the government provided a guarantee of payment to gas suppliers through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the World Bank three weeks ago as part of incentives to get the oil and gas companies to commercialise more of their gas.
He said this a very important measure the NNPC had been working on since 2008.
On appropriate gas pricing, he stated that a Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria had been established by all the gas producing companies in Nigeria to work towards achieving parity between domestic and export gas price.