The largest oil and gas producer in Africa, Nigeria loses approximately $10 billion of revenue a year through gas flaring, according to the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
When there is a lack of infrastructure to manage and store natural gas, there is a risk of unplanned over-pressuring of equipment. Flares are instead used to burn off unwanted reserves, avoiding significant build-ups of pressure and risk of explosion. Nigeria’s revenue loss is caused by its inability to capture and commercialise flared gas in the country.
What could have been
If flare gas was captured and used for energy, Nigeria could potentially produce 600,000 metric tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) per year. This increased production would create 300,000 jobs and generate 2.5 giga-watts of power from new and existing Independent Power Producers (IPP). In a country with a reported population of 75 million people who lack access to electricity, better management of gas flaring stands to have major economic and social benefits for Nigeria.
Capturing and commercialising flared gas would double the power produced by natural gas. Nigeria’s current electricity consumption is 144 kilowatt hours (kwh) per person, compared to the global average of 3104 kwh. A lack in power generation compared to other countries has made it difficult to attract new investment and retain existing agreements – crucial for improving Nigeria’s electricity production.
Nigeria has already shown significant progress in reducing routine gas flaring, with The World Bank reporting a two billion cubic metre reduction between 2012 to 2015. However $3.5 billion worth of inward investment is still required to achieve the country’s flare gas commercialisation targets.
To achieve its goals, a Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulation is being finalised for 2018. Whether the new measures proposed by the Regulation will significantly reduce flaring remains to be seen.
Measuring and monitoring
A critical part of meeting Nigeria’s flare gas reduction targets will be the monitoring and measurement of natural gas.
Ultrasonic is one of the most accurate measurement tools for flare gas. Fluenta’s FGM 160 Flare Gas Meter uses ultrasonic technology to provide accurate measurement data, allowing operators to better identify the processes that result in the most gas flaring, and effectively meet new targets.
For more information on Fluenta’s FGM 160 Flare Gas Meter, click here.
Read an update to this story about Nigeria’s new strategy to combat flaring, here.