Despite the Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP) initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari's administration to discourage flaring of gas in the country, the government has expressed concern about the high volume of the substance being flared in the country.
This is even as stakeholders in the energy industry have advocated for Nigeria to urgently move to alternative and cleaner sources of energy and protect the environment.
The Programme Manager of the NGFCP, Mr. Justice Derefaka, made the declaration in Lagos, at the 2019 Energy Sustainability Conference organised by the Energy Institute Nigeria, with the theme, "Energy Landscape: Minimising Risks, Maximising Opportunities."
Derefaka, who pointed out that there are over 178 gas flare locations across the Niger Delta, with about 324 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas being flared, noted that Nigeria used to be number two in the world in terms of gas flaring but is now the number seven in the world.
"We want to go down even lower, and most preferably, out of relegation. We are recording a decline in the scale of gas flaring, but the volume of gas flaring in Nigeria is still worrisome," he said.
According to him, 178 flare points collectively flare one billion standard cubic feet (scf) of gas, and harnessing gas from top 50 flare points would reduce the volume flared by 80 per cent, given 2015 gas flare location and volumes as baseline.
Derefaka, also noted that Nigeria would be the third largest economy by 2050, hence, the need to make gas available for the growing economy.
Meanwhile, to ensure Nigeria fulfils its commitment to climate change agenda, and also increase access to clean energy by its citizens, the United Kingdom and other stakeholders in the sustainable energy industry have advocated for a shift to a less-hazardous energy mix with less focus on fossil fuel to power the nation.
According to the stakeholders, 50 per cent of energy supply in Nigeria and other African countries was still based on coal and oil, a move contrary to the Paris agreement.
The British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms Harriet Thompson, in her goodwill message, urged the federal government to improve regulations and ease of doing business to attract investments to the country's renewable energy sector.
Thompson, noted that while renewable energy was a pivot for UK investment, there was a need to move more businesses to more environmentally-sustainable practice, especially in the area of electricity generation.
She explained that the British Government had been able to reduce emission by 43 per cent, and would like to collaborate with Nigeria to achieve similar goals.
Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer, Energy Institute, Ms Louise Kingham, said there was a need for transformational approach in energy consumption in the country, hence the need for sustainable energy approach. The Deputy General Manager Gas Commercial, Total E&P Nigeria, Mrs. Maryam Bala Shehu, said without infrastructure, the country cannot get the gas to the upstream and down to the end users.
She added that there must be an available market for gas off-takers, saying: "If the target market is not profound enough, we will not have the economic basis to developing our production assets.
"Despite government effort to make gas available, we are still not where we want to be. The market has to be there and it must also be robust.
"There is gas, but the market is not deep enough while the infrastructure to take gas to the market is also not available".
Shehu, also advised that the various segment of the value chain must not work in silos, noting that there was need to connect large gas reserves to strategic demand centres.