Nigeria remains a top gas flaring country, says EIA
Oil production drops to 20-year low
Despite recording significant decrease in the level of gas being flared per day, the U.S State Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that Nigeria remained one of the top five gas flaring countries in the world.
Besides, oil output has fallen to a 20-year low in the continent’s assessed economic super power, as militants renewed attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta.
EIA pointed out that although Nigeria flares a significant portion of its gross natural gas production, the amount being thrown up has reduced by more than 50 per cent over the past decade.
It disclosed that the country now ranks as the fifth-largest natural gas flaring country, down from the second position it held in 2011.
EIA said that a number of recently developed and upcoming natural gas projects that are focused on monetising previously flared natural gas are already in place.
According to EIA, a significant amount of Nigeria’s gross natural gas production is flared (burnt off) because some of the country’s oil fields lack the infrastructure needed to capture the natural gas produced with oil, known as associated gas.
In its brief on Nigeria’s oil and gas sector in 2015, the U.S. agency said that Nigeria flared 379 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of its associated gas production, or 12 per cent of gross production.
It stated: “The Nigerian government has been working to end natural gas flaring for several years, but the deadline to implement the policies and fine oil companies has been repeatedly postponed, with the most recent deadline being December 2012.
“In 2008, the Nigerian government developed a Gas Master Plan to promote investment in pipeline infrastructure and new gas-fired power plants to help reduce gas flaring and provide more gas to fuel much-needed electricity generation. However, progress is still limited because security risks in the Niger Delta have made it difficult for international oil companies to construct infrastructure that would support gas commercialisation”.
Meanwhile, Nigeria continued to record low oil output due to the constant attacks on production facilities in the county.
Before the new attacks at the weekend on major gas and crude pipelines belonging to Shell and Agip, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu said that the country’s oil production was down to 1.4 million barrels per day from 2.2 million bpd last year.
Analysts believed that crude oil production is now likely down by half to at least 1.2 million bpd.
Dwelling on Nigeria’s crude oil production decline, EIA said production in Nigeria peaked at 2.44 million bpd in 2005, but it began to decline significantly soon after as violence from militant groups surged, forcing many companies to withdraw staff and shut-in production.
It noted that the lack of transparency on oil revenues, tensions over revenue distribution, environmental damages from oil spills, and local ethnic and religious tensions created a fragile situation in the oil-rich Niger Delta.
The U.S agency noted that amnesty was declared in 2009 and the militants came to an agreement with the Federal Government whereby they handed over weapons in exchange for cash payments and training opportunities.