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Reps ask FG to enforce 2020 exit date for gas flaring in Nigeria

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John Ameh, Abuja

The House of Representatives on Wednesday asked the Federal Government to stick to the 2020 exit date for gas flaring in the country to cut the harmful effects on the environment and the huge economic losses to Nigeria.

Worse still, the House observed that International Oil Companies operating in the country had defaulted in the payment of the $3.5 penalty the government set “per 1000 SCF of gas flared.”

Three key committees of the House were mandated in a resolution, to liaise with the appropriate government organs to ensure that the government stuck to the exit date.

They were the Committee on Gas Resources; Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream); and Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream).

The session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, directed the committees to “to interface with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Department of Petroleum Resources on government’s policies and regulatory rules towards actualising the exit date of 2020 for gas flaring in Nigeria and report back to the House within eight weeks for further legislative action.”

Lawmakers had passed the resolution in a unanimous voice vote after a member from Edo State, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, moved a motion asking the government and the IOCs to save Nigeria’s environment and economy by ending gas flaring.

Citing available statistics from the World Bank, Agbonayinma observed that Nigeria ranked second on the list of “highest” gas-flaring nations, emitting “over four billion dollars worth of gas annually.”

Besides, Agbonayinma informed the House that the DPR, in its 2015 report, had indicated that flared gas could generate  3,500 Megawatts of electricity for the country.

He added that this was “an equivalent of three trains of Liquefied Natural Gas, representing a loss of over $1billion revenue or over 60 million barrels of oil equivalent.”

Part of Agbonayinma’s motion read, “Also notes that the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, in its 2014 Nigerian oil and gas report, disclosed that in 2008, the federal government, in its fiscal regime for the petroleum sector, set a penalty of $3.5 per 1000 SCF of gas flared by oil companies, observing, however that the companies have refused to comply with the directive.

“Aware that gas flaring results in the release of methane, which is accompanied by other greenhouse gases that account for about 50 per cent of all industrial emissions in the country and 30 per cent of the total C02 emissions, which are harmful to humans, the economy and the environment.

“The failure of the government to enforce the laws against gas flaring has exposed humans to various respiratory disorders, harmed the environment and cost the country over three N3trillion in revenues over a five-year period.

“Also aware that as much as conversion of gas that is currently flared into cash is not just about penalties, there is need to provide a conducive legal and regulatory environment, and also the infrastructure to take the gas harnessed to end users, which is obtainable in other climes where 90 per cent of associated gas is used or re-injected into the ground, rather than flared.”

 

 

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