By Victor Efik
CONGRATULATIONS TO NiGERIA AS SENATE PASSES BILL TO PROHIBIT GAS FLARING IN NIGERIA
* Offenders to pay N10 million fine for inaccurate data
History was today, Wednesday 17th April, 2019 made in the Senate as the Upper House considered and passed the Bill for an Act to prohibit gas flaring in Nigeria with few amendments.
It should be noted that the last legislation on gas flare came into force 40 years ago, and since then there has been no review/amendment of the Act till now despite its devastating effect on the host communities.
The said Act specified only N10 per thousand cubic feet of gas (scf). However, the bill passed today recommends maximum of $2.00 per scf as gas flare penalty.
The Bill is sponsored by the erudite Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas Resources, Sen. Bassey Albert.
One of the highlights of the Bill is that a lesser or licencee who supplies inaccurate data to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) or to any other lawful authority will be liable, upon conviction to a fine of N10 million or be committed to prison for a term of six months or both.
The Bill consists of 22 sections and includes sections on punishment for the supply of inaccurate data, Gas flaring penalty fee, powers of the Minister to make regulations as well as a repeal of the Associated Gas Re-injection Act 1979.
It will be recalled that Senator Bassey Albert Akpan on Tuesday, November 3, 2016 presented the Bill for an Act to Prohibit Gas Flaring in Nigeria. Among others, the bill seeks to ensure that natural gas shall not be flared or vented in any oil and gas production operation, block or field, onshore or offshore, or any gas facility which shall commence operations after the commencement of the Act. The Bill also seeks to ensure that no operator shall establish an Oil and Gas facility in Nigeria without first obtaining authorization from the Minister for the design phase, the commissioning and the production phases.
The Bill was referred to the committee on Gas for further legislative action after it passed through the second reading. The Committee thereafter invited industry stakeholders and the general public to a public hearing on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.