Gas flaring in Nigeria is now in decline – between 2012 and 2015 the country reduced flaring by 20%. Yet the country remains one of the worst contributors of CO2 emissions through the routine burning of natural gas. The Federal Government has now developed a strategy to utilise gas flares for electricity – positioning power plants next to flare sites to supply local sites with power.
As part of the National Gas Policy recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the Federal Government has called the new strategy, ‘gas flare-out through gas utilisation projects’.
The best way to reduce gas flaring – and the number of flare sites across Nigeria – is through projects with strong local engagement plans. The policy states this could include:
- plans for metered electricity to host communities immediately adjacent to flare sites
- projects which could be of significance to local regional electricity distribution companies as embedded power projects
- critical levers for rural economic development in the Niger Delta, providing islands of stable metered electricity or gas products, such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG.
These projects would provide the area around a gas flare site with a significant economic advantage in exchange for hosting businesses.
Reducing gas flaring
The policy recognises that gas flaring reduction technology has the potential to be one of the great energy and environmental success stories – with new technologies being designed to utilise the resource. To set the new strategy in action, the government will collaborate with stakeholders in the industry, development partners, providers of flare-capture technologies and third party investors.
Other strategies include: replacing diesel fuel with gas for power generation with small gas engines; combining new processing systems with efficient fuel flexible gas turbines and small-scale Gas-To-Liquid (GTL) or mini-Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plants.
Making a statement
Around 75 million Nigerians do not have access to electricity and gas flaring can mean the country is losing the equivalent of 3,500 megawatts of electricity generation annually. In a country where the annual GDP per capita is as low as $2500, it is easy to see why the country is concerned.
The new policies and strategies being developed by Nigeria’s Federal Government aim to further the progress already made in reducing gas flaring and vastly improve the country’s access to electricity. Nigeria’s Midstream Oil Sector has expressed hope that the country’s readiness to implement the National Gas Policy will open up significant investment and trigger an industrial revolution.