[By Sopuruchi Onwuka]
Gas flares at Nigeria’s oil producing sites result in waste of over 54 million barrels of oil equivalent (mboe) in resource value. This figure translates to about 148,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day, more than the total out of most African petroleum producers.
At prevailing oil price of $54 per barrel, the country which is currently sinking deep in external debts loses an equivalent of $2.916 billion annually to gas flares annually. The flared volumes of natural gas are produced in association with crude oil and other hydrocarbon liquids but burnt off for ease of operations.
The Oracle Today reports that natural gas trades on separate pricing template from crude oil and other hydrocarbon liquids.
Chairman of President Committee on National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), Dr Mohammed Ibrahim, told The Oracle Today in Lagos that loss calculation on energy waste at the country’s petroleum industry showed that producers in the country flare an average of 324 billion standard cubic feet of gas annually.
He lamented that apart from the commodity worth of the petroleum resources allowed to waste, the economic value of gas flares in the country exceed annual N1.0 trillion in ancillary business earnings.
According to Dr. Ibrahim whose committee is driving popularization of natural gas for fuel and industrial feed application in the country, efficient harnessing of the resources could provide basis for investments in over 85 manufacturing projects in the country annually, create some 300,000 direct employment opportunities and over 1.2 million indirect jobs annually.
In pointing at the environmental benefits of harnessing associated natural gas for fuel and industrial application, Dr Ibrahim stated that zero flare upstream operations in the country could arrest emission of 22 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the Nigerian environment and earn the nation over $2.0 billion or another N1.0 trillion in carbon credit.
On alternative value of flared gas, he said the flared volumes could be harnessed to fire generation of 12 megawatts of electricity to spur economic and social activities in the country, boost Nigeria’s per capita electricity utilization, and crash the cost of running businesses.
Pointing at the benefits of gas as alternative fuel energy for homes, Dr Ibrahim stated that commercialization of flare gas harnessed from Nigerian oilfields could also enhance penetration of cooking gas in the country by 60 percent or 600,000 tons per annum.