Abuja — The Federal Government will soon sign a global agreement on zero routine gas flaring that is targeted at ending flaring in 2030.
Speaking at the opening of the African Petroleum Congress and Exhibition (CAPE VI) organized by the African Petroleum Producers Association (APPA) yesterday in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari, hinted that there were efforts at reducing gas flare through Joint Venture Contracts that would expand infrastructure and deploy Liquefied Natural Gas (LPG) for domestic and industrial uses.
Buhari, who spoke through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, decried huge amount of gas that is flared yearly.
His words: "In processing Africa's hydrocarbon resource, environmental issues must be accorded huge priority. Globally, over 150 billion cubic meters of associated gas is flared annually; of this figure, Africa flares an estimated 40 billion cubic meters annually. In Nigeria, gas flaring amounts to about 23 billion cubic meters per annum; in over 100 flare sites constituting over 13% of global gas flaring. Nigeria is a member of the World Bank Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GCFR) Partnership and with the support of our legislature; we will sign the United Nations Agreement of 'Zero Routine Flaring by 2030' although our national target is 2020. I urge all APPA member countries to set realistic targets for gas flare-out in the region."
The president noted that ending gas flaring on the continent would require joint efforts of all the countries especially the oil-producing ones.
He emphasized the need for all African countries to take further stand against gas flaring, especially as about 40 trillion Standard Cubic Feet (SCF) of gas that is flared daily in the continent, with Nigeria accounting for half of that amount.
"My challenge is for APPA member countries to develop ingenious ways of promoting value addition and investment through sustainable policies in local content.
A common approach to local content will ensure that the whole of Africa benefits from economies of scale associated with our vast resources," he stated.
The president further maintained that African countries must put in place the right mechanisms to expand the region's refining capacity, adding that African oil and gas countries have no reason to remain tied to the apron strings of other oil producing countries.
He was also of the opinion that the gathering provides a very unique opportunity for Africa to look beyond the exploitation of oil and chart a new course in the use of other natural resources to upscale national revenues.
Instead of focusing on the negative side of the downward slide in oil prices, the president maintained that the current volatility in the oil sector allows lessons to be learnt, synergies to be built and new approaches to be adopted to enable Africa to expand its economy, infrastructure, manpower-base, maintain domestic and regional peace and protect the environment.
He insisted that the use of gas in Africa's future energy mix has become imperative if the continent must meet her future energy needs and urged African countries to enter into partnership with Nigeria in this regard.
He added: "The issue of the development of a robust gas infrastructure must be jointly addressed. Currently Nigeria has the 7th largest gas deposit in the world and the highest quality rich in liquids and low in Sulfur. Reserves are put at over 185 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) and undiscovered reserves estimated at 400 TCF with a capacity to peak to 600 TCF. The Nigeria Gas Master Plan and the Gas-to-Power-Initiative clearly exemplifies the focus of our nation. I invite all APPA member countries to enter into profitable partnerships in natural gas business with Nigeria."
He also hinted that Nigeria would continue to pursue focused renewable energy initiatives through prudent management of resources under a bio-fuel programme for the production of fuel-ethanol and bio-diesel.
"The resulting 'Green Gasoline' will reduce the volume of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, improve air quality and ultimately reduce global warming and its catastrophic consequences. This renewable energy initiative will not only help the Nigerian economy but will also assist other APPA Countries to create jobs," he said.
On refining capacity on the continent, the President challenged African Ministers of Energy to further explore cooperation mechanisms to expand regional refining capacities in an efficient and cost-effective manner, saying, "let me assure that Nigeria is ever-ready to provide support in manpower development through the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun and the Petroleum Training Institute, Warri."
In his intervention, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu said while collaboration was key, African governments must develop a policy that would make backward integration a speedy possibility.
"It is a new dawn for Africa and we are excited about the development. We will continue to work collaboratively because there is a lot happening in the space but also a lot of challenges that we have to overcome.
A major challenge is funding. Obviously skillsets are there already and technology is not an issue but funding remains key. Policies are also key because African governments have to develop policies that will enable backward integration into their own systems", Kachikwu said.