At the plenary on Thursday, the House specifically resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to ‘investigate the gas flare volume reported by the Nigerian government and the NOSDRA Gas Flare Tracker’.
The committee is to also ‘ascertain the amount of gas flared and the extent of the discrepancies, and ascertain the amount of revenue due to the government from gas flare penalties’.
The resolution followed the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Abdullahi Halims titled ‘Need to check the activities of oil companies flaring gas in Nigeria’.
Halims noted that Nigeria gazetted the Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations 2018 to reduce and eliminate gas flare in Nigeria through monetisation and investment in the gas flare ecosystem.
He cited Paragraph 12 of the policy as increasing penalties from $0.30 to $2.00 IMscf (1000 standard cubic feet) on flared/vented gas volumes, while Paragraph 21 stipulated a penalty of $2.50 IMscf (per thousand standard cubic feet) against a producer who fails to provide flare gas data or supply accurate and complete flare gas data.
The lawmaker said, “The House is concerned that after the penalty regime started, the gas flare volumes reported by Nigeria was drastically reduced for 2018 and 2019, and created a huge discrepancy between the gas flared volumes reported by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency’s Gas Flare Tracker, which is satellite-based and the volumes declared by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the period.”
Halims noted that the report from the Gas Flare Tracker via satellite was used and accepted by the petroleum industry globally for gas flare volumes records, ‘thus, it is only in Nigeria that discrepancies exist between the flared volume reported by the satellite and the government’.
The lawmaker partly said, “The anomaly in flared volume reportage by the Nigeria government has caused an outcry from Civil Society Organisations, the Nigeria media and the Coalition Against Gas Flare, an umbrella organ of CSOs in the gas flare ecosystem, is raising public awareness on the matter.
“The House is alarmed that the loss to Nigeria may be higher when the penalties accrues from venting are determined and added to the money accruable from flared gas discrepancies and other losses in terms of power generation, which is now estimated at 98GWH for 2018 and 2019.
“The House observes that the discrepancies in the gas flare volumes exist between figures declared by the Nigerian government and the NOSDRA Gas Flare Tracker has huge economic, environmental, social ethical and criminal implications and should be nipped in the bud.
“The discrepancy will cost the government huge revenue loss from penalties estimated at $680m and 98GWh for 2018 and 2019 and present a planning challenge in terms of inaccuracies in figures that may be presented for gas flare investments, and will create difficulties when ascertaining the environmental consequences of gas flaring and attendant adverse health implication on man, animals and flora in the petroleum producing communities.”