Fixing the environment and eliminating gas flaring — Opinion — Guardian Nigeria News – News from Nigeria and the world

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The Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) recently announced that 42 local oil and gas companies have been selected as successful bidders for 49 flare sites in the 2022 Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialization Program (NGFCP) bidding process. is heartwarming. This comes after about seven years in the development of NGFCP, the first in the history of hydrocarbon exploration and production in Nigeria.

Thirty-eight of the 42 local companies were awarded 40 flare sites for standalone single flare site development, and four companies were awarded nine sites to develop as a cluster.

The program is one of the government’s initiatives aimed at eliminating routine gas flaring in the country by 2035 and achieving net zero emissions by 2060, protecting the environment and It aims to reduce the impact of routine gas flaring, particularly on people living in oil areas. -Rich Niger Delta. President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had revealed that 226 companies had submitted bids before the project was suspended at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

This progressive development is exciting. The act of burning natural gas during the oil extraction and production process has several negative effects. One is gas flaring and the associated waste and environmental degradation. For example, the oil-rich Niger Delta region continues to suffer from the devastating effects of gas flaring and oil spills resulting from oil and gas company operations in the Niger Delta. Several studies have demonstrated that gas flaring releases greenhouse gases into the Niger Delta atmosphere, causing a decrease in biodiversity and the health status of the environmental population.

The fact remains that gas flaring, especially in the Niger Delta region, is emitting pollutants that can negatively impact local ecosystems and have negative effects on human health. Gas flares release harmful pollutants that can cause respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems in nearby communities. Therefore, the removal of gas combustion sites has become a must to eliminate health problems.

The selection of 42 Indigenous oil and gas companies is commendable to ensure that recovery efforts in gas removal are environmentally sustainable and to minimize further damage. Indeed, decommissioning gas flaring sites is an important step in addressing the environmental, social, and economic challenges associated with gas flaring. Many countries and regions have regulations that limit or require reductions in gas flaring.

Choosing a responsible company will ensure compliance with these regulations and avoid legal issues and penalties. Removing gas flaring sites reduces air pollution and improves the health and well-being of communities such as the Niger Delta. Removing and addressing gas flare sites helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). The removal of gas combustion sites represents a commitment to long-term sustainability and responsible resource management. This will help address historic environmental damage and leave a clean legacy for future generations.

Having said that, our concern is whether the 42 local oil and gas companies selected have the necessary expertise to reduce gas flaring. Do they have the necessary capabilities to drive innovation and introduce new technologies to more effectively address problems? Are they an honest company? Can we build trust and foster positive relationships among communities and stakeholders? Choosing the right company to clear a gas flaring site can help reduce the environmental and social risks associated with gas flaring. , is of great importance to address economic challenges. For example, gas flaring sites can be a fire hazard and pose a risk to infrastructure, agricultural land, and personnel. Therefore, it is vitally important to hire a diligent and non-corrupt company to clear gas flaring sites to protect the environment, health, safety, and economic well-being of local communities.

More importantly, rather than complaining about the dangers posed by gas flaring, Nigeria has potentially significant economic benefits from addressing and reducing gas flaring, thereby making it a national asset. This means that it can be changed to . One of the most direct ways to reap economic benefits from gas flaring is to invest in the technology and infrastructure to capture and process flared gas. This recovered gas can be used for various purposes such as power generation, industrial processes, or even exported as liquefied natural gas (LNG). Nigeria therefore needs to reap significant economic benefits from flaring gas, as other countries are doing.

Embarrassingly, power outages continue to persist in Nigeria well into the 21st century. The nation’s power grid is constantly collapsing, with no end in sight. Utilizing recovered gas for power generation could have both economic and social benefits in Nigeria. It can provide a reliable source of power for both industrial and domestic use, reducing dependence on more expensive and polluting energy sources. Using gas to generate electricity or as an energy source can contribute to diversifying the energy portfolio and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Additionally, the process of removing and reusing gas combustion sites can be used to reduce the high unemployment rate in the Niger Delta region. Lazy youth, who make up a large portion of the population in the Niger Delta, are indeed a vibrant workforce that will be drafted into gas removal sites to assist in site removal and improve the health of the people of the Niger Delta. can do.

To stop gas explosions in Nigeria, we need to go beyond government rhetoric and come up with concrete measures. Governments should strengthen the regulatory framework and ensure that oil companies comply with existing laws. This will require governments to muster the political will to impose stiff penalties on oil companies for burning gas. These penalties must be sufficient to deter flare-ups and encourage the development of alternative solutions. Governments should provide incentives to oil companies to capture and use natural gas rather than combust it. This could include tax breaks, subsidies, or other financial incentives to encourage the construction of gas processing facilities.

Finally, the government should impose corporate social responsibility on Nigerian oil and gas companies, especially for the environment, such as removing flare sites. Eliminating flare sites is a step toward meeting these expectations and improving your company’s image. Advances in technology have made it increasingly cost-effective to capture and utilize flare gas rather than flaring it. Diligent site cleaning will accelerate the adoption of these technologies.

To achieve this, there must be political will at the highest levels of government to combat corruption among oil and gas companies. Governments should create mechanisms to protect whistleblowers who report corruption within government and the oil and gas industry. It should also establish an independent body or commission to monitor and investigate allegations of corruption within the oil and gas sector.

Let’s fix our environment now to protect our country’s future.

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