Oil and gas companies operating in the country flared a total of 108.91 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas in the first five months of the year, causing the country an estimated loss of N95.8bn.
The latest data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Friday showed that 24.77 billion scf of gas was flared in January; 20.42 billion scf in February; 21.47 billion scf in March; 20.50 billion scf in April, and 21.75 billion scf in May.
The amount of gas flared in the first five months of this year increased by 11.6 billion scf, compared to the volume flared in the corresponding period last year.
According to the NNPC, 22.32 billion scf of gas was flared in January 2016; 20.38 billion scf in February; 20.11 billion scf in March; 18.7 billion scf in April, and 15.8 billion scf in May.
With the price of natural gas put at $2.88 per 1,000 scf as of August 9, 2017, the 108.91 billion scf flared translates to a loss of $313.6m or N95.8bn (using the official exchange rate of N305.75/dollar).
The NNPC said, “A total of 242.70 billion cubic feet of natural gas was produced in the month of May 2017. Out of the 240.90 bcf of gas supplied in May 2017, a total of 144.50 bcf of gas was commercialised comprising of 34.37 bcf and 110.13 bcf for the domestic and export market respectively.
“This implies that 59.99 per cent of the total gas produced was commercialised while the balance of 40.01 per cent was either re-injected, used as upstream fuel gas or flared. Gas flare rate was 9.03 per cent for the month of April 2017 i.e. 701.54 mmscfd compared with average gas flare rate of 9.73 per cent i.e. 688.65 million scf per day for the period May 2016 to May 2017.”
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, said last month that the corporation envisaged a near zero flare in the not too distant future with adequate infrastructure and frameworks being put in place.
“Government’s intentions to develop this market will be made clear to the prospective investors,” he added.
According to the recently approved National Gas Policy, the flaring of natural gas that is produced in association with oil is one of the most egregious environmental and energy waste practices in the Nigerian petroleum industry.
The policy states, “While gas flaring levels have declined in recent years, it is still a prevailing practice in the petroleum industry. Billions of cubic metres of natural gas are flared annually at oil production locations, resulting in atmospheric pollution severely affecting host communities.
“Gas flaring affects the environment and human health, produces economic loss, deprives the government of tax revenues and trade opportunities, and deprives consumers of a clean and cheaper energy source.”