Nigeria: Mixed Reactions Trail Gas Flaring in Nigeria

Mixed reactions have continued to trail gas flaring in Nigeria, as critical stakeholders in the oil and gas industry are yet to come to an agreement whether or not, government should stop gas flaring in Nigeria or continue to make profit from it.

My findings reveal that gas flaring has been going on from the moment oil was discovered in Nigeria. It has also been revealed that Nigeria is a major culprit and global GHG emissions of about 347 million tonnes of Co2, as such there has been heightened concerns and agitations in oil producing communities due to the incidence of regular high temperature, or thermal gradient and unprecedented heat for humans, crops and animals in flare vicinity.

Meanwhile, gas flaring payments made by oil companies to the federal government, increased from a meagre $15.5 million to $307.4 million between 2018 and 2019, according to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) report.

This figure, which has further increased in 2021 can, to some extent fund the 2023 budget, the CEO, Initiative for Community Development, Benjamin Ogbalor tells me.

To him, though gas flaring has negative impact on the health of host communities, the federal government, for the time being (that is before the federal government totally put an end to gas flaring), can make huge amount from it, that can help fund part of the 2023 budget.

However, Ogbalor said it is sad to know that the exact volume of gas flared is not being captured in the country.

“We have the Global Gas Flaring Tracker from the World Bank, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), the operators and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) system, but Nigeria tends to rely on the report of the operators.”

Instead of just relying on what the oil operators are reporting, Ogbalor said Advocacy for Gas Flared Accountability in Nigeria (AGFAN), cluster, which comprises of 10 non-governmental organisations, have come up with mechanisms to track the exact volume of gas flared.

“Part of our recommendations is for NEITI to take all the figures from World Bank, operators and NOSDRA together, review them properly, then come up with a figure that is more accurate for Nigeria and share that figure with the National Assembly, the ministry of finance, the media and NGOs, to ensure accountability,” he added.

Meanwhile, field team lead, Strengthening Civic Advocacy And Local Engagement (SCALE), Samson Joshua Ida, told me that, though the federal government is making huge funds from gas flaring in Nigeria, its negative impact on humans, crop, animal and the environment outweigh whatever government is making from it.

There are about 178 gas flare sites in Nigeria and a deadline to end gas flaring in 2008 was not achieved. Though the World Bank has set 2030 as the target year to end gas flaring, Nigeria has set the country’s deadline for 2025.

To achieve this target, Ida however advocated for strong political will, adding that it will enable the country to achieve its target towards emission reduction.

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