Chineme Okafor in Abuja
A review of the monthly operations and financial reports of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 13 months showed that Nigeria flared 318.75 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas and supplied only 291.67bcf to the power generating plants, THISDAY has learnt.
The report, which covered from October 2017 to October 2018 indicted that the 318.75 bcf of gas flared by oil companies was higher than the 291.67bcf utilised for electricity generation by 9.28 per cent.
THISDAY’s analysis further revealed that the total gas flared was almost double the amount of gas supplied to industries, which according to the report was 174.04 bcf during the period.
Data from the Advisory Power Team in the Office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has indicated that shortage of gas supply has remained a dominant constraint to optimum power production by generation companies (Gencos).
For instance, the Advisory Power Team stated that on February 4, 2019, the dominant constraint of the power sector was unavailability of gas which constrained a total of 1,720 megawatts (MW) of electricity from being available on the national grid.
It equally said that on the average, 2,980MW of electricity could not be generated daily in January 2019 mostly on account of gas supply constraints.
The report stated that the average volume of electricity generated and distributed to Nigerians in January was 3,952MW, which represented a decline from what it was in December 2018, by 141MW or 3.4 per cent.
According to the NNPC report, in October 2017, 22.21bcf of gas was supplied for power production while 24.24bcf was flared.
The figures rose to 22.29bcf and 26.24bcf, respectively in November 2017; and ended 2017 with rather higher figures of 25.66 bcf and 31.88 bcf.
From January 2018, gas supply to power Gencos was 22.66bcf while 31.68bcf was flared; it was 23.07bcf versus 27.25bcf in February; 26.49bcf and 26.88bcf in March.
However, the gas supply situation improved in April when 25.06 bcf was sent to the Gencos and 23.06 was flared.
Again, in May, more gas – 22.27 bcf was sent to the Gencos and 21.20 bcf was flared; in June, 22.33 bcf was for power production while 21.66 bcf was burnt off; in July, 22.35 bcf and 21.21 bcf were sent respectively for power production and flaring.
The supply ratio subsequently changed again in August when 20.03 bcf was used for power production and 22.42bcf sent to flare sites.
The poor gas supply situation continued in September and October with 18.44 bcf and 18.82 bcf sent to the Gencos respectively while 20.54bcf and 20.51bcf were also flared.
The NNPC report also explained that total gas supply for the period October 2017 to October 2018 stood at 3,111.04 bcf out of which 465.70 bcf and 1,340.25 bcf were commercialised for the domestic and export market respectively, adding that injected gas, fuel gas and gas flared were collectively 1,305.09 bcf.
It noted that on the average 744.06 million metric standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of gas was sent to power Gencos every day within the period, while 787.71 mmscfd of gas was flared as well, thus representing a 5.86 per cent more than the volume supplied to Gencos. Domestic industries got 444.52mmscfd or 77.2 per cent less of the flared volume.
Experts who spoke to THISDAY on the import of the statistics, explained that it highlighted the urgent need to begin the implementation of the gas flare commercialisation programme, which the federal government recently enacted, adding that the volume of gas flared could be efficiently utilised under the programme.
The government had in July 2018, launched the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP), and subsequently announced the commencement of the first bid round for the programme in November 2018, wherein it called on interested bidders from domestic and international entities to indicate their intention to participate.