By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: The Federal government has warned oil companies operating in Nigeria, to comply with its decisions to end gas flaring by 2020 or have their licences withdrawn.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu who said this on Thursday in Abuja at the International Press Conference on the ‘Journey So Far and the Next Line of Action’ on the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme(NGFCP), stated that the government will go beyond penalties, to withdraw licences of offending oil companies.
Recall that the Federal Executive Council in June 2016, approved the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP), in recognition that flared gas could be harnessed to stimulate economic growth, drive investments and provide jobs in oil producing communities and indeed for Nigerians through the utilisation of widely available innovative technologies.
However, Kachikwu pointed out that despite the federal government’s commitment to end the flare of gas, oil companies seem not to show willingness to implement government’s policy.
He lamented that despite a 70% decline in flaring over the past decade as a result of NNPC and their JV partners efforts, Nigeria still flared about 324 BCF of gas in 2017, exceeding the meagre ~800 MMSCFD utilized for power generation and ~450 MMSCFD utilized in domestic market
The Minister disclosed that when the NGFCP becomes operational, it is expected to have a potential Gross Domestic Product (GDP) impact of $1 billion per annum, adding that the design of the NGFCP is an innovative, robust and scalable approach to gas flare reduction – a “game changer” .
He further remarked that one key accomplishment of the Programme is the historic and record-breaking achievement of the enactment and approval of the Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations 2018 (Regulations).
According to him, “The Regulations were signed by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), on the 5th July, 2018 as the regulatory instrument that will underpin the implementation of the NGFCP. It was gazetted within a record time on the 9th July, 2018
“Concerning the Niger Delta communities, I have directed the NGFCP Ministerial Steering Committee (SteerCo) and the Programme Management Office (PMO) to activate the NGFCP Community Awareness and Sensitization/Participation Plan (CASP) to ensure widespread, ongoing, and meaningful sensitization and participation of the key stakeholders in the Niger Delta communities”, he added.
In his presentation, the Chairman Ministerial Steering Committee NGFCP, Engr. Rabiu Suleiman, stated that about $3.5 billion worth of investments by third-party investors is required to achieve gas flare commercialisation by 2020.
He stated that the objective of the NGFCP is to achieve the gas flare-out commitment through technically and commercially sustainable gas utilisation projects developed by competent third-party investors who will be invited to participate in a competitive and transparent bid process.
While noting that the NGFCP is designed as an important “climate change action plan” for the Nation, he added that overall, the NGFCP potential GDP impact is estimated at approximately US$ 1billion per annum.
“Assuming average project sizes in the range of US$ 10-40 million, the NGFCP has a potential of triggering around 70 to 89 projects. And over a 1 – 2 year period, the NGFCP could generate approximately 300,000 direct and indirect jobs. Provide 6 million households with clean energy, particularly in unlocking LPG (cooking gas i.e. produce 600,000 MT of LPG per year).
“Once operational, projects launched under the NGFCP would reduce Nigeria’s emissions by ~13 million tons of CO2 per year. The NGFCP is clearly a High – Impact Programme”, he said.
The NGFCP is designed as the strategy to implement the policy objectives of the Federal government of Nigeria, for the elimination of gas flares with potentially enormous multiplier and development outcomes for Nigeria.