The Senate on Wednesday mandated its committee on gas to review upwards and recommend immediately penalties for defaulters of Nigeria’s gas flaring laws.
The upper chamber reached the resolution after consideration of a motion titled ‘The need to monitor the Nigerian Flare Commercialization Programme towards ending Gas Flaring by 2020’
The legislature thereby directed its committee, which has Senator James Manager as chairman, to monitor the implementation of the Nigerian gas flare commercialization programme (NGFCP).
Similarly, it also urged the federal government to intensify efforts to diversify from crude oil to natural gas production.
The sponsor of the motion, Senator Betty Apiafi, who drew the attention of the Senate to laws against flaring of associated natural gas in the country, lamented the manner in which such laws were being flouted by International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country.
The lawmaker cited section 3(1) of the Gas Re-injection Act introduced in 1984 which states that “no company engaged in the production of oil and gas shall after January 1, 1984, flare gas produced in association with or without the permission in writing of the minister.” to buttress her position.
While ruing the huge revenue loss to the country due to unbridled gas flares in the country, the Senator disclosed that in 2018 alone, based on data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Federal Government recorded a revenue loss to the tune of N197 billion from a total of 215.9 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas flared.
She explained: “Nigeria has the largest Natural Gas Reserve in Africa and the ninth-largest in the world.
“Nigeria’s gas reserves are about three times the value of her crude oil reserves with a value of around 202 trillion cubic feet (TFT) of proven Natural gas reserves, but despite having the largest gas reserves in Africa, only about 25 percent of these reserves are being produced or under development today”, the lawmaker added.
She pointed out that lack of enforcement of the laws on gas flaring in previous years was thwarting the government’s projected deadline of 2020 to end routine associated gas flaring.