By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
When most major oil companies are battling with compliance with the federal government directive to end gas flaring in their operations in the country, an indigenous oil producing firm, Belemaoil Producing Limited, has said it would end gas flaring in all its facilities by 2019.
The Rivers State-based oil producing company, said the move would not only shore up its profits and community relations, but that it would also impact positively the environment in line with the directive of the federal government over the years.
Speaking to journalists on the side lines of an event in Port Harcourt yesterday to formally present the â€œBelema Modelâ€ to Belemaoil Producing Limited host communities, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Boma Brown, said the company would rather convert the gas into power for use in its host communities while the excess would be compressed and sold in the local market.His words: â€œIn terms of gas flaring, we are only trying to do what is needful. We have already set up a team to monitise our gas. That is basically turning the gas that is presently flared into revenue in our business modem. When you put it in that way and you align it with the environmental issues, it becomes a much stronger valued production and return on investment.
â€œSo, in two yearsâ€™ time, specifically, 2019, there will be no more gas flaring in all our fields. We will achieve this by carrying out the projects that we have earmarked to stop this flaring.â€
On the nature of the projects, Brown said, â€œThere are series of projects that we have brokered. We have also taken steps to get the commercial framework so that the end customer picks up the gas. It is basically to convert gas to power but we have the challenge of evacuating the power. But then our host communities are there and so we can give them. They may not be able to take all the volume of power that we can generate. There are several projects that are remaining but we will look at the option that will give maximum benefit to all stakeholders.
â€œBut certainly we will give power to our communities. Even if we want to do any other industrial projects there, it will still require power. We are also looking at the issue of gas to power as a key enabler.
â€œThe other one is that we can also monitise it through other routes; which is compressing it and sending it into the domestic market. So there are projects that are lined up.â€
Brown would not be drawn into whether the federal government over the years has been committed to enforcing the zero-flaring policy.
He said: â€œIf you say the federal government has been talking and not matching words with efforts, that is not fair. I think the government is committed. There has been no government that is not committed. It is more about getting the whole process to be well aligned. But I think we can do a lot better as a country. If you look at it, power has not been deregulated. So, you need to look at it that if you bring the proper market into focus, investment will come in. one key example that can be used as an analogy is the telecom sector.â€
He recalled that when the telecom sector was not deregulated, NITEL held sway but it was not efficient. He noted that when the sector was deregulated, investors came in, the price went up but with the entry of competition the price came down and efficiency went up.
â€œSo, we need to lose the market forces. It is not that the government was not serious. We also need to look at it that we have to play in the new market,â€ he said.
He listed the facilities operated by the company to include Idama, Ijoka, Ndaa and Robert Kiney.
â€œThe Belema-Belema North is the unified field in which we are participants,â€ he added.
Earlier, during the presentation of the Belema Model, the President/Founder of Belemaoil, Mr. Jack-Rich Tein, said the company was committed to integrate the community into its operations.
Tein, who was represented by the Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Pedro Diaz, noted that an indigenous oil company, Belemaoil was poised to leads in community development and to ensure that host communities formed part of the operations of the company.