By Nse Anthony-Uko
ABUJA, (Sundiata Post) – The Senate is set to enact the Gas Flaring Prohibition Bill 2017 which will serve as a legislative panacea to end gas flaring.
Nigeria is losing over $2.5billion annually continued gas flaring which also contributes to air pollution, heat, rainforest damage and climate change.
While giving his opening remark at the Public Hearing on the gas flaring prohibition bill 2017 on Wednesday, Senate Committee on Gas Senator Chairman, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan said this happens in the more than 1000 oil fields located across the country.
Senator Akpan averred that the towering flames resulting from gas burning now seem to the local villagers as an inevitable consequence of oil production.
Nigeria he added has an estimated 188 billion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserve making it the ninth largest concentration in the world.
But that due to unsustainable exploration practices coupled with the lack of gas utilisation infrastructure “We flare more than 75 per cent of the gas produced and re-injects only 12 per cent to enhance oil recovery.
In his own words, Senator Akpan said ” it is estimated that more than 2 billion standard cubic feet of gas is currently being flared in Nigeria annually which makes Nigeria the highest any member nation of the Organization of petroleum Exporting Countries OPEC Consequently, Nigeria accounts for about 19percent of the total amount of gas flared globally.
The bill he said will serve as a legislative panacea to end gas flaring. Although according to him in regulatory and technical constraints made it very doubtful for Nigeria to abandon gas flaring at the various dates previously set by the federal government
The Procedure of issuing gas flaring permit he said will now be set up in a substantive legislation. Thus the emerging Act would of essence among other provisions; prohibit the development of oil and gas fields without plan for utilization of Associated Gas.
To also address the inadequacies and shortcomings of the 1985 Gas Re injection Act and Bring gas flare penalty in line with current economic realities as well as ensuring the achievement of the international flares- out of 1st January,2030 and ensure the timely review of gas flaring regulations and deployment of an online real time monitoring mechanisms
Senate president Senator Bukola Saraki declared the occasion open after emphasizing the importance of regulating gas flaring in the country.
He also said the act of gas flaring is not only hazardous to health but calamitous to the economy of the country and must be stopped if the country wants to grow.
Many stakeholders attended the public hearing amongst them were various unions from the Niger