Peter Uzoho in Abuja
The federal government has said Nigeria has lost over one trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas and $2 billion revenue between 2017 and 2020 as a result of burning gas through flaring by oil companies.
This, the federal government said, is equivalent to 54million barrels of crude oil.
The Chairman of the National Gas Expansion Expansion Programme (NGEP), Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, stated these at the weekend during the stakeholders’ engagement meeting with the media ahead of the presidential launch of the programme tomorrow.
Ibrahim said in 2017 alone, Nigeria flared 324 billion cubic feet (BCF) of natural gas, explaining that it meant that such volume of gas was being wasted to flaring annually.
He said: “In 2017, 324billion cubic feet of gas was flared in this country. Which means from 2017 up to this moment, over a trillion has been flared and it is still being flared as we are talking.
“What does that translate to in terms of revenue, in terms opportunities for employment? One, this 324billion means that every year, we are burning 54million barrels of crude oil equivalent.
“Secondly, it means that what could have triggered between 70 and 85 projects is being burnt, and we are talking about unemployment. It also means that we could have generated 300,000 jobs times four.
“Let’s focus on the last one year, 1. 2million direct jobs could have been created. And we are complaining that the youth are on the streets.
“In terms of credit value, half a billion dollars – if you multiply that by four, that’s $2billion”.
Reeling out more of the opportunity cost of the volumes of gas wasted in the period under review, Ibrahim said those gas burnt could have fetched the country about 3,000megawatts of electricity on a yearly basis.
According to him, “That would have been additional 12,000MW of electricity. But those molecules of gas are still being burnt”.
Regretting Nigeria’s unserousness about deepening domestic utilisation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) commonly known as cooking gas, he said the country burns 600,000 metric tonnes of LPG per annum.
Ibrahim added that it meant in four years, Nigeria had burnt and wasted additional 2.4million tonnes of LPG that could have been used profitably and in more value adding manner in the country.
He argued that by flaring such large volumes of cooking gas, it had made the available product scarce and expensive, pointing out that 12.5kg of cooking gas sells for about N3,000.