By Hassan Haruna Ginsau.
Delegates to the National conference yesterday approved the total banning of the flaring of associated gas in the country, while also voting to remove the Minister of petroleum’s power to grant exemption to gas flaring.
They made this proposal during adoption of amendments and recommendations put forward by the conference’s committee on energy and power.
However, delegates disapproved an attempt to put the amendment to a re-vote by HRH Edmund Dakore who informed the conference that two thirds of the country’s oil revenue would be lost if the amendment went ahead, adding that this was the reason why minister of petroleum was granted these powers.
Delegates also approved that a management company or department under the LNG be set up to liaise with the UN and World Bank so as for Nigeria to participate in the on-going global gas flaring reduction programmes.
During the morning session’s deliberations on recommendations put forward by the committee on energy, delegates denounced the gas flaring going on Nigeria, pointing out both its harmful and wasteful nature.
A delegate, Ray Ekpu noted that Nigeria had a serious problem in this area because gas has been flared in the country for over fifty years, apart from the health risks such as respiratory and eye problems, he added that local people suffer from skin and lung cancer.
Said Ekpu, “That is not the only problem; this gas flaring has been mismanaged by the government and oil companies. This is the worst incidence of gas flaring in the world. Nigeria flares 74% of its gas and only utilises 26%. That is very far above the world average which is 4.3%, that is far above the OPEC average which is 18%. The flaring level in the UK is 4.3%, the US’ is 0.6%. in Holland it is 0%. In Saudi Arabia it is 20%, in Iraq it is 19%, and in Libya it is 21%. In Mexico it is 5%.
So you can see the danger in which Nigeria is in. We lose a lot of money, every day, every second and we also endanger the lives of people. We are talking about what we can achieve in terms of power generation and yet here we are wasting the resources.”
He hence asked the conference to recommend that the Government take more positive and effective action against oil companies that are wasting our gas.
On his part, Chief Paul Enebeli, a South-South delegate said he thought the time had come for Nigeria to take a positive decision on the best ways to stopping the wanton gas flaring in the South-South because of the obvious health challenges that it poses to his people.
“There is also the issue of pollution and I want to join other people to stress the need for action to be taken immediately to ensure that the pollution taking place in these gas flaring areas must be taken care of without further delay, bearing in mind the fact that oil production is not a lifetime issue. Evidence has shown that in the next thirty year we may run out of oil and if all the money has been used to develop other parts of the country, we will remain with the pollution and its adverse effects it is having on us” said Enebeli.