Chineme Okafor in Abuja
About 38 new gas flare sites have been discovered in the Niger Delta region to bring the existing number of gas flare sites in the country to 178, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has disclosed.
The ministry also stated yesterday in Abuja that the country flared about 800 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscuf/d) of gas in 2015, adding that this represented 13 per cent of the amount of gas it produced each day then.
Speaking at the â€˜Gas Aggregation Buyersâ€™ Forumâ€™ organised by the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria (GACN), the Program Manager for the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP), Mr. Justice Derefaka, explained that the NGFCP recently embarked on collation of new data on gas flare, and has been able to cover just 60 per cent of its scope.
The NGFCP was set up to provide a commercial approach to the elimination of routine gas flares by 2020 and equally drive positive social, environmental and economic impacts in the Niger Delta by mobilising private sector capital towards gas flare capture projects.
Derefaka, stated that it was from the 60 per cent of its work scope so far that it established the existence of 178 gas flare, which is higher than the previous number of 140 sites the country bandied.
He said the balance of 40 per cent of its scope would be completed and that it was also going to rely on the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for more details on the figures it has.
â€œWithout accurate gas flare data, then this programme is dead on arrival. What we are doing beyond the data we have at the DPR is that we are going beyond what they have and have sent a special template with the World Bank and USAID, asking for unique data from producers and it would amaze you what we have found out,â€ said Derefaka.
He further stated: â€œWhat we know in this country is that we have about 140 gas flare sites, but by our verification, we have found out recently that we have about 178, and that is not even complete because we are around 60 per cent, 40 per cent data is missing, some of the data are inaccurate, so, we are doing information request from the DPR office.
â€œSo, in this country we are sitting in now, we have 178 gas flare sites of the 16,000 that we have globally in 90 countries. Daily, we flare around 755 to 800 million standard cubic feet,â€ he added.
Derefaka, noted that the NGFCP was also working with the Canadian Government and World Bank to conclude its gas flare data gathering and measurement work.
Similarly, the Managing Director of GACN, Mr. Morgan Okwoche, explained at the meeting that Nigeria was yet to get it right with its gas market, and the meeting was called up to review the sectorâ€™s operations.
Okwoche stated: â€œThe Nigerian gas market is still evolving and it is the process of enhancing it that we called for this forum. There are parts of the business that are not very clear from the buyers and sellers side.
â€œThe market is also segmented, particularly with the Domestic Supply Obligation when it came into operation. The power sector has a different price from the gas-based industries and bulk distribution of gas has a different price. We need to educate our people well on this.â€
He noted that the volume of gas needed by industries and users in the country was not coming because of huge debt to gas producers, adding: â€œThere is so much debt. The debt portfolio is so huge and if you juggle figures, you may be wrong.â€
Also in his remarks, the Senior Commercial Adviser, Upstream Gas for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Mr. Emmanuel Anyaeto, stated that investors have indicated their interests in Nigeriaâ€™s gas market but want some level of guarantee on their investments.