By Victor Efik
The Nigerian Senate has moved to give legal teeth to end gas flaring in the country when it received the Report of the Committee on Gas on the Gas Flaring (Prohibition and Punishment) Bill, 2018
The report was presented today, Wednesday, 17th October, 2018 by the sponsor of the bill and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (OBA).
It would be recalled that Public Hearing on the bill was held on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas Resources and the sponsor of the Bill, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, said when passed into law by the National Assembly, the bill is expected to revolutionise the oil and gas sector.
The Bill, which was first read in the Senate chamber on November 3, 2016 passed through the second reading stage on Thursday, March 9, 2017 after a successful debate.
Speaking further on the importance of the Bill, Senator Bassey Albert (Akwa Ibom North East) said the Bill will enhance a rapid infrastructural development of the oil and gas sector, enhance revenue to government as well as improve the lives of the people of the Niger Delta Region while also providing incentives for companies with clearly defined flare out projects.
According to Senator Albert, the flaring of natural gas in association with crude oil is one of the most dangerous environmental and energy waste practices in the Nigerian petroleum industry. He noted that gas flaring affects the environment and human health, results in economic loss, deprives the government of associated tax revenues and trade opportunities, and deprives consumers of a clean and cheaper energy source and environment.
The purpose of the public hearing on the Gas Flaring Prohibition Bill was to receive contributions of the general public and industry stakeholders to the Bill to ensure a holistic and effective implementation of the Act when eventually passed into law.
He explained that the Bill will, among others, seek to increase gas flaring penalty to an appropriate level to de-incentivise the practice of gas flaring while introducing other market measures to encourage efficient utilization of gas. The Bill, he also said, will make it mandatory for operators to submit gas utilization plan within 90 days of the commencement of the Act for effective monitoring.
The public hearing was declared open by the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki. Present were officials of Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources,(DPR), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ministry of Environment, Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), National Environmental Standard and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), National Oil Spill Detection Response Agency (NOSDRA), international oil companies, independent producers, marginal field operators, and members of host communities.