Gas flaring: Obey our laws, Reps tell IOCs

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The House of Representatives has called on the oil companies in the Niger Delta to stop gas flaring, asking the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other regulators to enforce the relevant laws.

The House particularly called on international oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region “to stop forthwith the continuous flaring of associated gas and install equipment for capturing the associated gas as it obtains elsewhere.”

It urged the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the NNPC and other regulatory bodies saddled with the responsibilities of ending gas flaring in the country to ensure “strict compliance with the Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations 2018 as well as implementation of the Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme.”

The lawmakers mandated the House Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream, Downstream and Gas), Environment, and Climate Change to “study the impact of the gas flaring and to ensure compliance.”

Moving the motion, titled ‘Need to End Gas Flaring in Nigeria and Harness Associated Gas,’ Ben Igbakpa noted that Nigeria had become signatory to the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership, setting for itself a 2020 deadline to end gas flaring.

The lawmaker stated that with the use of modern technology, associated gas could be used to generate electricity.

He added, “The House is concerned that since 2018 when President Muhammadu Buhari approved a legal framework called the Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations, 2018, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, nothing visible had been achieved in that direction.

He said, “The House is concerned that in spite of the framework, which provides the legal basis for implementation of the Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, which prohibits flare or vent of gas and imposes sanctions on defaulters, nothing concrete has been achieved to end gas flaring in Nigeria.

“Nigeria stands to suffer more from the effects of climate change since our ozone layer is eroding fast due to incessant gas flare.”

The lawmaker said, “The House is concerned that routine flaring of associated gas still goes on unabated in the Niger Delta area, thereby posing severe environmental and health hazards to the people. In the oil rich Niger Delta, pollution related to gas flaring has been linked to cancer of the lung and other neurological and reproductive illnesses and gas flares are destroying crops and polluting the waters as well, and it has been estimated that 2 million people live within 4km (2.5 miles) of a gas flares in the delta region.

“During the rainy season, the rain water is visibly black and in Port Harcourt and Warri. For example, there were days of dark clouds hanging in the sky, so that noon may look like evening time.”

In a related development, the House at the plenary on Wednesday resolved to investigative the incessant spillage of petroleum in parts of the country.

The House mandated the Committees on Environment; Information; National Orientation, and Ethics and Values to, “as a matter of urgency, call a stakeholders’ meeting to interface on the most effective way to curb the escalating negative impact of crude oil spills in Nigeria.”

The joint committee is to report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.

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