NNPC: Ending Nigerian Gas Flaring by 2009 Unrealistic

Alhaji Abubakar Yar'Adua, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, argued March 25 that putting an end to gas flaring in Nigeria by 2009 is unrealistic without proper funding, according to a Nigerian news source.

Government officials, Yar'Adua said after meeting with a House Committee on Petroleum in a two-hour meeting, have commented on the end of gas flaring by 2009, but these promises are empty if plans are not made to provide the funding that would support such an action.

"We have to work out the plans, harness our input and properly fund the plan before we can fix a date," Yar'Adua was quoted as saying by The Punch. "I think sometimes we went crazy. We went mad in this country.

"Quite frankly, that is the truth. The date is not realistic."

In June 2005, eight Nigerian communities filed lawsuits against the largest of the operators involved in gas flaring. In November 2005, a judge in Benin City ruled in favor of the Iwerekan community of the Niger Delta, ordering Royal Dutch Shell to end gas flaring.

At that time, a spokesperson for Shell stated that an additional $1.85 billion investment would allow Shell to end gas flaring by 2009, adding that a lack of funding by the Nigerian government had led to the delayed end to gas flaring. He said the funding goals of the joint venture program to end gas flaring had not been met.

Shell Regional Vice President of Exploration and Production Anne Pickard has been reported as saying that it would cost Shell $6 billion to end flaring at the 1,000 or so wells Shell owns around the African country.

Nigeria is by far the host to the most gas flaring in the world. One estimate indicates that some 2.5 Bcf/d is flared in Nigeria.

Dow Jones has reported that oil and gas industry stakeholders believe gas flaring in Nigeria cannot be ended until 2012.

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