By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria lost N470 billion ($1.24 billion) to gas flaring in 2020, data released by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has revealed.
The agency disclosed that the amount was lost from the flaring of 354 billion cubic feet (BCF) of gas by oil and gas companies operating in the country.
However, the volume of gas flared between January and December last year was 22.5 per cent lower than the N606.4 billion ($1.6 billion) or 466.2 BCF lost in 2019.
The NOSDRA report highlighted that the 354 BCF of gas flared last year was equivalent to 19 million tonnes of Carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.
It added that the companies were liable to a fine of $708 million, about N268.332 billion, many of which it claimed were not collected from the oil firms.
NOSDRA added that the flared gas was capable of generating 35,400 gigawatts hours of electricity, equivalent to the annual electricity needed to provide for 804 million Nigerian citizens.
Giving a breakdown of the quantity of gas flared on a month-on-month basis, the NOSDRA report noted that in January, February, March, April, May and June 2020, 38.54 BCF of gas, 32.02 BCF, 35.8 BCF, 39.49 BCF, 38.88 BCF and 29.05 BCF of gas were flared respectively.
Further, 18.34 BCF, 24.77 BCF, 8.29 BCF and 21.45 BCF, 32 BCF and 33 BCF of gas were flared in July, August, September, October, November and December 2020, respectively.
Gas flaring is the combustion of associated gas generated during various processes including oil and gas recovery, CBM production, petrochemical process and landfill gas extraction.
In Nigeria, a significant amount of gas is flared despite having a high price of cooking gas even as the federal government removed the Value Added Tax (VAT) placed on locally-produced cooking gas in 2018.
There have been moves to significantly reduce the amount of gas released into the atmosphere because of its devastating effects on the environment.