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Gas Flaring Horror: Nigeria Faces N702 Billion Revenue Loss, Compounded with Inept Rulers, Environmental Degradation

In the face of Nigeria’s persistent challenges with dwindling revenue due to rampant oil theft, the country is grappling with significant losses associated with gas flaring. According to the latest data from the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), petroleum companies operating in Nigeria flared 241.1 million standard cubic feet (MSCF) of gas during the first 11 months of 2023. This marks an 18.9% increase compared to the corresponding period in 2022, where 195.5 MSCF of gas was flared.

NOSDRA reports that the monetary value of the gas flared in this period amounts to $843.7 million, resulting in a staggering loss of N702.2 billion in potential revenue based on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s official exchange rate.

The defaulting companies face fines totaling $482.1 million, equivalent to N401.3 billion. The volume of gas flared during this timeframe translates to a carbon dioxide emission of 673.1 thousand tonnes and possesses a power generation potential of 24,100 gigawatt hours.

Further dissecting the gas flaring statistics, NOSDRA reveals that offshore operations accounted for 132.9 MSCF, while onshore operations contributed 108.1 MSCF. Despite ongoing efforts to curtail gas flaring, it has persisted in Nigeria since the 1950s, releasing environmentally harmful gases into the atmosphere.

In response to this ongoing issue, the House of Representatives pledged to initiate an inquiry into the annual $2.5 billion loss attributed to gas flaring. However, there has been no update on the findings of this inquiry for approximately three months.

Recently, the Federal Government issued a warning to gas producers, urging them to refrain from discouraging awardees in the gas flare commercialization program. Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, emphasized during a post-award engagement that the commission would not tolerate any attempts by gas producers to dissuade successful awardees from undertaking the gas flare commercialization projects.

Notably, the federal government, through the NUPRC, granted letters of award to 42 individual companies for all 49 flare sites on offer in September 2023. Komolafe expressed surprise at receiving feedback from awardees citing claims by some producers that the forecasted gas volumes might not be available only a few months after the awards were granted.


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