The Federal Government, yesterday, disclosed that it has started the real-time tracking and monitoring of gas flaring and oil spillage across the country.
Speaking during the launch and handover of the environmental monitoring tools, the 'Oil Spill Monitor and Gas Flare Tracker', Director General of the Nigerian Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, Mr. Idris Musa, stated that with these tools, accurate data can be obtained on the actual volume of gas flared by oil companies, crude oil spillage and would help in determining the losses in terms of revenue to the country.
The Gas Flare Tracker and Oil Spill Monitor were developed for NOSDRA by the Stakeholder Democratic Network, SDN, with funding from the Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform, FOSTER. The platforms are a located at 'www.nosdra.oilspillmonitor.ng' and 'www.nosdra.gasflaretracker.ng.'
Musa, who noted that it was impossible to totally eradicate gas flaring, also declared that over the years, Nigeria does not know the actual volume of gas flared across the country, as well as the country's contribution to global warming and emission.
He added that the tracker would it possible for the Federal Government to determine the actual penalty to be levied on defaulting oil companies in the area of gas flare, as the actual volume of gas flared can now be determined.
According to him, the advantages of the tracker included that the country would have its own gas flare data, would be able to get whatever amount of gas anybody flares into the system, and then the companies made to pay the correct penalty.
He said, "The gas flare tracker is meant to check the associated gas that is normally flared. In Nigeria, we have not really been tracking gas that is flared. Over time, we now decided to also keep that one in check, just as we monitor the oil that is spilt, we also want to begin to put on record, the volume of gas that is flared.
"When you see countries saying that this is the volume of gas that they flare or this is a contribution that they have to global warming, we Nigerians cannot say this specifically. Whatever anyone who claims to be an expert says about Nigeria is what is taken. We do not have any data to counter it. From now, if anybody associates any volume of gas flared or emission to us, we can say no, this is what our own record says.
"Besides that, we would be able to tell how much heat is generated, how much gas is flared and what the cost of the gas flared is. Perhaps, if it has been compressed, treated and utilized, this is the number of dollars it would have given us by way of revenue. Flaring the gas is also burning what ordinarily should have been revenue to us."
Also speaking, Country Director of SDN, developer of the tools, Dr. Christopher Onosode, said the oil spill monitor and gas flare tracker would enable NOSDRA to investigate oil industry environmental challenges more effectively, adding that last year alone over $1.6 billion worth of gas that could have potentially been used for power generation was flared.
He said, "For the first time in Nigeria, the new gas flare tracker would enable anyone to see exactly where gas is being flared."