By Yetunde Bada
Abuja – Dr Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), on Sunday pledged to support any legislative process to end Gas flaring.
Baru made the pledge in Abuja in a statement by Mr Ndu Ughamadu, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division NNPC.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had said that it put in place measures and facilities to curb gas flaring preparatory to the 2020 flare deadline.
Baru, while making this submission during a one-day public hearing on Gas Flaring Prohibition Bill 2017, at the National Assembly expressed NNPC’s strong support for the legislation to reduce gas flaring.
Represented by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Mr Yusuf Matashi, Baru said the Corporation considered the legislation from the financial benefits it promises to capture rather than seeing it from the point of view of penalty.
”NNPC supports the legislative intervention to prohibit gas flaring in line with global best practices, considering its negative impacts on the environment and the communities where the gas is flared.
”NPDC, the Exploration and Production arm of the Corporation, is going ahead to see that the monetization of flared gas is realized despite the challenges of the past,” Baru said.
He said that NPDC was the highest gas supplier to Nigerian domestic market and was therefore committed to the reduction and elimination of gas flaring to generate more revenue for the country.
Earlier, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who was represented by the Deputy Majority Leader, Sen. Bala Nallah, while declaring open the public hearing said the issue of gas flaring was a national embarrassment.
He added that the 8th Senate was committed to enacting a legislation that would end gas flaring in the country.
“Gas flaring is as old as crude oil exploration in the country.
”We are, therefore, committed to this legislation which seeks to put an end to gas flaring which has deprived the nation of huge revenue, impacted the lives of oil producing areas negatively and depleted the ozone layers,” Saraki said.
On his part, the Senate Committee Chairman on Gas, Senator Albert Bassey, stated that the Gas Flaring Prohibition Bill 2017 served as a legislative panacea to end gas flaring in the country.
He said the public hearing was to collate views of relevant stakeholders that would enrich the bill and find a lasting solution to the challenge of gas flaring in line with the Paris Agreement on clean environment and World Bank 2030 flare out deadline.
NAN reports that on May 28, the Senate began legislative processes aimed at prohibiting gas flaring and imposing stiffer penalties on defaulting oil and gas firms, as proposed by the Gas Flaring (Prohibition and Punishment) Bill 2017.
The bill is intended to address the inadequacies and shortcomings of the Associated Gas Re-Injection Act of 1979, provide stiffer penalties in line with current economic realities, and ensure the achievement of the National Flares-out Target of January 1, 2030.
The bill, which recently passed through second reading, also makes it mandatory for operators to submit gas utilisation plan within 90 days of the commencement of the Act for effective monitoring.
The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Bassey Akpan, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Gas, speaking on the bill, said that gas flaring remains one of the most dangerous environmental and energy waste practices in the oil industry.
He added that the continuous practice has disastrous consequences on human and environmental health and causes loss of revenue by depriving the government of tax and trade opportunities.
Bassey also the stated that the emphasis on creation of infrastructure for gas utilisation should be a condition for grant of licenses, as being done in countries like the United States.
“The Bill also makes specific provisions for the installation of requisite gas flare meters equipped with facilities that enable real time, online data retrieval for independent reporting and monitoring by the industry regulator,” he said.
“The current gas flare penalty of N10 per 1,000scf is too low, and not in line with current economic realities and encourages continuous gas flaring by operators with its attendant negative effect on our environment instead of encouraging investment in infrastructure by the operators to make gas available for our domestic use,” he said.