Nigeria: Gas Flaring - Can Nigeria Actualise Its Stoppage By 2025?

19 February 2021

Gas flaring releases the largest amount of methane, which has very high global warming potentials. The methane is accompanied by the other major greenhouse gas, e.g. carbon dioxide of which Nigeria was estimated to help discharged more than 3,438 metric tons in the recent years, accounting for about 52% of all Industrial emissions in the country and 43% of the total emissions.

Interestingly however, Nigeria flares more natural gas associated with oil extraction than any other country in the world. This alone is scary, especially if one ponders on the estimates that suggest that of the 3.7 billion cubic feet of associated gas emitted annually, about 3.2 billion cubic feet, or about 70% is wasted via flaring.

If we go by these analysis, we can vividly see it clearly that the harmful effect of the gas flared on the livelihood of the communities is at the highest risk.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals currently live within areas where estimated ambient temperatures are significantly elevated above the already considerable tropical heat. In addition to the health, safety, and quality of life issues arising from this situation, peer-reviewed research shows that these higher temperatures are associated with reduced crop yields, potentially in conjunction with oAAto the top countries with total gas flared in the world? The flares pump 400 million tons of Carbon dioxide annually into the atmosphere and about 15% of the gas flared in the world comes from Nigeria alone and stands with an increase of about 23 billion cubic meters every year.

But we heard our minister for petroleum saying that the elimination of gas flaring was an issue his ministry was taking seriously, to achieving the global consensus on elimination of gas flaring by 2025. He also said that in December 2020, the ministry rolled out a gas penetration programme so as to attain a total elimination and utilisation of gas that was being flared as at today.

While commending efforts of the petroleum minister, we must also take note that before Nigeria meets up the world's energy demand and supply, a quick response to utilising natural gas should be made at least by concentrating in the liquefied natural gas LNG project, which is targeted at foreign and local market, as a source of energy, also can be used as community projects and as well as re-injecting to enhance oil recovery.

It will not be surprising however, that our environment minister is still in his antics on this serious aspect of environmental challenge! What needs to be done must be done from day one, but it seems even the fear that we may wake up one day to find out our environment is swelled by heavy runaway greenhouse effects is not a problem in the eyes of someone who is supposed to champion the cause.

What happened to the commitments of Nigerian government to the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change through our intended nationally determined contribution? Can someone tell Nigerians who sits at his comfort zone to turn things around negatively? Since time immemorial, we all know that the petroleum ministry along with some few independent oil companies made efforts to bring the problems to book, but it all went down the drain.

Have they realized that gas flaring has varying implications to humans due its typical catastrophe? Effects of the flare are now closer to residents and farmlands and have been implicated in serious environmental degradation of our country, which brings serious economic wastage.

With the pledge made by the petroleum ministry, we believe and hope that all hands should be on deck to foster solutions to the scourge by encouraging more companies to invest in the flares and clear them away. Also, they must work with all concerned in Nigeria, more especially the national assembly and other relevant bodies to put in place every structure that was required to end gas flaring in the country.

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