Nigeria loses $16trn to gas flaring despite rising debt stocks

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The Federal Government has lost an estimated $16 trillion to natural gas flaring in ten years amid rising debt stocks, which stood at N87.38 trillion in the second quarter of 2023.

The Energy Institute’s 72nd edition of the ‘Statistical Review of World Energy 2023’ disclosed this on Monday, noting that the amount was lost from 2012 to 2022.

An analysis of the data showed that upstream and downstream oil and gas firms operating in the country flared the highest amount of gas in 2012, estimated at 12.9 billion cubic metres of natural gas, 9.2 billion cubic metres in 2013, 8.3 billion in 2014, and 7.5 billion cubic metres in 2015.

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The flare kept decreasing as the year rolled by, with 7.2 billion cubic metres flared in 2016.

It rose to 7.5 billion cubic metres in 2017 before plummeting to 7.3 billion cubic metres in 2018 and then rose to 7.8 billion cubic metres in 2019.

The menace dropped significantly to 7 billion cubic metres in 2020, dropping further to 6.5 billion cubic metres in 2021 before resting at 5.3 billion cubic metres in 2022.

A summation of gas flared by the country in the ten years under review gives an estimated 86.5 billion cubic metres.

According to Hebrew Energy, the value for each 1 billion cubic metres of natural gas is about $183m, giving an estimated $16tn lost to the menace within the period under review.

As a form of penalty for gas flaring, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, said oil companies were liable to fines totalling $25.3 million in July, an equivalent of N19.4 billion going by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s current official exchange rate of N768.77/$.

Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Petroleum Commission, Engr Gbenga Komolafe, said, “The wasteful disposal of natural gas is not only fraught with deleterious health/ environmental consequences but also a major source of resource waste and value erosion to the country.”

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