Gas flaring
An unidentified woman carries her tapioca after drying it near a gas flare belonging to the Shell oil company in Utorogun, Nigeria, March 5, 2006. Photo credit: Voice of America

Nigeria Set To Lose N319.56bn To Gas Flaring By End Of Year

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Nigeria stands to lose as much as N319.56 billion to gas flaring by the end of the year, according to data analysed by Prime Business Africa.

Latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as reported earlier by Prime Business Africa on Thursday, showed that international and local oil companies flared a total of 33.04 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas in just two months.

Flared gas, which is a major concern to health experts, climate change analysts and environmentalists, is potentially a major source of foreign exchange for Nigeria if properly harnessed and utilised.

Flaring gas wastes a valuable energy resource that could be used to support economic growth and development in many countries.

Flaring also contributes to climate change by releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, with harmful impacts to the environment from un-combusted methane and black carbon emissions.

The total loss of 33.04 billion scf to flare is shared between January which had 17.53 billion scf of wasted gas and February when 15.51 billion scf was also flared.

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The resulting loss in money was calculated based on the current price of natural gas, put at $3.93 per 1,000scf as of Wednesday July 22, 2021; meaning that the 33.04 billion scf worth of flared gas translates to an estimated loss of $129.85m or N53.26bn (using the official exchange rate of N410.13/dollar).

On the back of this estimated loss in just two months, Prime Busines Africa projects an annual loss of N319.56 billion based on the trajectory presented by the NNPC.

Despite many years of anti-flaring campaign by environmental activists and platitides mouthed by government officials against this menace, there is no substantial evidence that oil firms, multinational and local, have immediate plans to end flaring in Nigeria.

Recent records show that the trajectory will most likely continue as Nigeria has remained among the top seven gas flaring countries in the world for nine straight years.

The World Bank’s gas flaring satellite data from 2020 released in April 2021, revealed that Russia, Iraq, Iran, the United States, Algeria, Venezuela and Nigeria remain the top seven gas flaring countries for nine years running, since the first satellite was launched in 2012.

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According to the World Bank data, these seven countries produce 40% of the world’s oil each year, but account for roughly two-thirds (65%) of global gas flaring.

There is hope for Nigeria in curtailing gas flaring, however, as World Bank said the West African country and the greater Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug (KMAO) region of Russia have both achieved significant progress over the past 15 years, with Nigeria reducing its gas flaring by 70 percent to just 7 bcm in 2020, and KMAO reducing its gas flaring volumes by nearly 80 percent, to just over 4 bcm.

But the NNPC data shows that a lot still needs to be done if the country is to reduce gas flaring to the barest minimum.

Billions of cubic meters of natural gas is flared annually at oil production sites around the world.

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