• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Nigeria tops as global gas flaring surges to 5-year high despite ban push

Nigeria tops as global gas flaring surges to 5-year high despite ban push

Nigeria, the largest producer of crude oil in Africa, has come out top as one of the major oil-producing countries contributing to the increasing global gas flaring in 2023, driving set efforts of reducing environmentally harmful emissions further from realisation.

According to the World Bank’s annual Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report, oil companies in Nigeria flared 211.73 million cubic meters (7.48 billion cubic feet) of gas, out of the 148 billion cubic meters (5.23 trillion cubic feet) wasted globally in 2023.

Analysis of the report revealed that the gas flared globally by these oil companies surged to its highest level in five years, defying international efforts to curb the practice.

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Preye David Orodu, lead engineer at KEOT Synergy, said that the optimal strategy for Nigeria would be a practical push for gas commercialisation, supported by a robust infrastructure network.

“A portion of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) consumed locally is imported, although the exact percentage is uncertain. By promoting gas commercialisation, we can attract investment, thereby lessening our reliance on imports.

“The commercialisation process should stimulate investment in well-designed, efficient modular processing facilities.”

The analyst said these facilities would capture flared gas at well sites, creating profitable clusters both at well sites and flow stations.

Meanwhile, nine leading oil-producing nations, which include Russia, Iran, Iraq, the US, Venezuela, Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, and Mexico, are responsible for 75 per cent of global gas flaring and 46 per cent of the world’s oil production. These countries rank in the same order based on the amount of gas they burn off.

According to the report, countries experiencing instability, conflict, or violence have the highest flaring intensity, meaning they flare the most gas per barrel of oil produced.

Although Algeria and Venezuela have made strides in reducing their gas flaring, these improvements have been overshadowed by increases in flaring from countries like Iran, Russia, the US, and Libya, among others.

The increase, which marked a seven per cent increase from 2022, resulted in an additional 23 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions, an amount similar to adding about five million cars to the roads, according to new satellite data compiled by the World Bank’s Global Flaring and Methane Reduction (GFMR) Partnership

The surge in flaring has also more than offset the reductions achieved in 2021 and 2022. “Global efforts to reduce gas flaring have not been sustainable and urgent action is needed.”

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“The increase in gas flaring is particularly disheartening as it comes after a long-overdue reduction in 2022. This sets global gas flaring levels back to what we experienced in 2019,” said Zubin Bamji, World Bank GFMR Manager.

“We’re hopeful that this is somewhat of an anomaly and the longer-term trend will be dramatic reductions.”

The World Bank estimated that eliminating gas flaring could reduce environmentally harmful emissions by at least 381 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent released into the atmosphere.

Demetrios Papathanasiou, World Bank Global Director for the Energy and Extractives Global Practice, said, “Capturing and using this wasted gas could displace dirtier energy sources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and generate enough power to double the amount of electricity provided in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

The World Bank, in collaboration with the Colorado School of Mines in the US, has analyzed satellite data to determine these flaring statistics.