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Expert advocates stiff penalties over N891bn loss to gas flaring

A former Deputy Director of the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Engr Sunday Adebayo Babalola, yesterday urged the federal government to implement stiff penalties…

A former Deputy Director of the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Engr Sunday Adebayo Babalola, yesterday urged the federal government to implement stiff penalties as a measure to stopping or reducing gas flaring in Nigeria.

He said this would serve as a deterrent to companies as they would know that they would be spending more on penalties than on establishing strategies that will reduce or stop their gas flare.

He recalled that he initiated some measures to address gas flare when he was still working with the DPR.

Babalola stated that his current company, Green Energy, has executed strategies that have substantially reduced its gas flare.

He said in a very short time, the company would achieve zero gas flare.

Daily Trust reports that data released by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) showed that Nigeria lost $1 billion, an equivalent of N891 billion, to gas flaring in 2023.

It explained that oil and gas companies operating in the country burnt 275.2 billion standard cubic feet, SCF, of gas in 2023, adding that the volume of gas flared in 2023 was 27.03 per cent higher than the volume flared in 2022.

He said: “People are paying highly for the gas they are flaring now and they do not like. So, everybody is struggling to make sure that they do not flare and pay bigger. When it was cheap to flare gas. People preferred to flare it than engage in a gathering system. But now, it is no longer cheap to flare so everybody is doing their best to avoid gas flare.

“For example, my company, Green Energy, has its own gas plant that we are getting to the point of zero gas flare. We are not happy about the heavy penalty they imposed on us. I think it is about $350 per 1,000 scf or 1,000,000 btu. People do not like that. So, people are doing their best.”

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