Nigeria’s ambitious objective of commercialising gas flares from the country’s over a hundred flare sites appears to be yielding positive outcomes, despite missing the 2020 deadline to end all flares.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) Financial and Operations Report for June, the latest, shows that gas flare dropped by 138.79 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) year-on-year. This represents a 22.69 percent decrease year-on-year. The report shows 472.94 mmscfd of gas was flared in June compared to 611.73 mmscfd in June 2019. This represented 7.84 percent and 6.11 percent gas flare rates respectively.

Gas flare rate was 6.50 percent for May, that is, 486.19 mmscfd compared with average gas flare rate of 8.05 percent, that is, 626.24 mmscfd for the period May 2019 to May 2020.

Gas flare rate was 7.93 percent in April, that is, 617.32 mmscfd compared with the average gas flare rate of 8.30 percent, that is, 652.48 mmscfd for the period April 2019 to April 2020.

However, the gas flare rate in March was higher at 9.08 percent March, that is, 679.54 mmscfd compared with average gas flare rate of 8.43 percent, that is, 666.90 mmscfd for the period March 2019 to March 2020.

In February, gas flare rate was 7.60 percent, representing 629.88 mmscfd compared with the average gas flare rate of 8.46 percent, which represents 672.93 mmscfd for the period of February 2019 to February 2020.

At the beginning of the year, January, gas flare rate was 7.90 percent, which represented 643.59 mmscfd compared with average gas flare rate of 8.46 percent, that is, 671.40 mmscfd from January 2019 to January 2020.

Although the percentage of gas flared has continuously fallen this year, Nigeria had initially set 2020 as the deadline to eliminate gas flare from the country’s 178 flare sites, limiting it to 2 percent where it is inevitable. This was 10 years ahead of the 2030 date set for ending gas flaring globally.

In 2015 there were 39 companies directly involved in oil and gas production in Nigeria, producing natural gas from 189 fields with daily associated gas production of 4.74 billion standard cubic feet per day (bscfd) and non-associated gas production of nearly 3.46 bscfd.

All associated gas was routinely flared and disposed-off into the atmosphere during the early days of oil production in Nigeria. This practice of flaring 100 percent of associated gas lasted until the commencement of gas supplies to industrial users in Aba in 1963.

Despite this early source of utilisation and other government schemes, over 95 percent of associated gas was routinely flared over the next 15 years.

Gas flaring increased sharply in the 1970s due to increased oil production that was triggered by higher international crude oil prices. Conversely, the slowdown of crude oil production in the 1980s brought about a reduction in associated gas production and gas flaring. At the dip of production in 1987, flaring of associated gas had dropped from over 95 percent to 70 percent.

This means that with the current gas flare rate of less than 10 percent in 2020, Nigeria appears to be making some progress. What accounts for this are the many gas utilisation initiatives that the government is spearheading and partly due to the activities of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme.


Source: Business Day