As early as the first two months of this year, Nigeria had lost an estimated N53.26bn as international oil and local companies flared a total of 33.04 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas.
A total of 17.53 billion scf of gas was wasted by oil companies in February, compared to 15.51 billion scf in February, according to data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Gas flaring in the petroleum industry represents the loss of raw natural gas when associated gas is extracted. This loss may result from inadequate gas extraction, processing and transportation infrastructure.
With the price of natural gas put at $3.93 per 1,000scf as of Wednesday, the 33.04 billion scf flared translates to an estimated loss of $129.85m or N53.26bn (according to the official exchange rate of N410.13/dollar).
In its latest monthly report, the NNPC said out of the 206.05 billion scf produced in February, a total of 133.06 billion scf was commercialised, consisting of 40.15 billion scf and 92.91 billion scf for the domestic and export market respectively.
It said this suggested that 64.48 per cent of the average daily gas produced was commercialised while the balance of 35.52 per cent was re-injected, used as upstream fuel gas or flared. Some oil and gas companies prefer to flare gas because it prevents over-pressuring of industrial plant equipment.
Gas flare rate was 7.67 per cent in February (i.e. 565.52 million standard cubic feet per day), compared to 7.73 per cent in January (i.e. 554.01 million scfd).
A total of 223.55 billion scf of natural gas was produced in January, translating to an average daily production of 7,220.22 million scfd.
From the total gas output in January, a total of 149.24 billion scf was commercialised, consisting of 44.29 billion scf and 104.95 billion scf for the domestic and export markets respectively.
This entails that 67.15 per cent of the daily gas output was commercialised while the balance of 32.85 per cent was re-injected, used as upstream fuel, or flared, the NNPC said.