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AGFAN Advocates Zero Gas Flare, Venting In Niger Delta

AGFAN Advocates Zero Gas Flare, Venting In Niger Delta

…Rounds Off Electoral Dialogue In Uyo

By Saviour Ekpe

Non-Governmental Organisations under the aegis of AGFAN (Advocacy For Gas Flare Accountability In Nigeria) Cluster have rounded off an electoral dialogue/workshop in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

The programme sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and coordinated by Palladium and anchored by the Initiative for Community Development (ICD) candidates from different political divides; members of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO); people living with disabilities; royal fathers and the media as well as other cluster members including ANPEZ Centre for Environment and Development; Capital Multimedia Limited; Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development and Centre for Transparency Advocacy. Others are Center for Development Support Initiatives; Friends of the Earth Nigeria/Environmental Rights Action; Entrepreneurial Development Initiative (ENDIP); Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa and Murna Foundation were in full participation.

The Political discourse regarding the issues of gas flare penalties according to the organisers was necessary among other areas of interaction, apart from setting agenda for the political gladiators was aimed at creating awareness with a view to generating the political will to logically pursue through a common front for the benefit of the communities.

In a welcome remark, the organisers expressed worries over the menace of gas flares in various communities in Akwa Ibom State and proffered possible preventive measures put together by the National Assembly to ameliorate the suffering of the people, “The people of Akwa Ibom are first-hand victim of gas flare as I go around the communities and also interact with people I hear things like “Gas flaring unleashing acid rain resulting in a fast corrosion of metallic materials/other structural objects in the oil exploration host communities of Ibeno, Esit-Eket, Onna, Eastern Obolo, Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin, Oron, Mbo Urue Offong/Oruko and Ikot Abasi as well as other adjoining local government areas. There has been cry by NGOs, communities to stop the gas flaring.

In 2018, Federal Government of Nigeria gazetted the Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations 2018, a bill that was sponsored by the then Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas Resources, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan. The Regulations establish a new gas flaring payment regime for gas flared within an OML area or a Marginal Field. Companies that produce at least 10,000 barrels of oil per day shall be liable to a flare payment of $2 per 28.317 standard cubic meters (1,000 standard cubic feet (scf)) of gas flared. However, companies which produce less than 10,000 barrels per day shall be liable to a flare payment of $0.5 per 28.317 standard cubic meters (1,000 standard cubic feet (scf)) of gas flared. This is a significant increase from the erstwhile flat penalty of N10 per 1,000 scf of gas flared that has been in force since January 1998. So AGFAN Cluster has been engaging National Assembly House of Rep on Joint Committee on gas flaring, discrepancy, relevant MDAs, and Agencies to institute a mechanism that will bring accountability and transparency in the Volume gas flared reported”.

In a key paper Presentation by The Advocacy For Gas Flare Accountability In Nigeria (AGFAN) Cluster tagged, “The Accountability for Gas Flared and Clean Energy Advocacy (AGFACEA)” Project, the group outlined specific Goals to include Improve transparency and accountability in flared/vented gas volumes and payments for Flared Gas in Nigeria; Increase LPG to 5,000,000MT by 2023 and to reduce GHG (Green House Gas) Emissions with clear objectives to include among others To facilitate the elimination of  discrepancies through a  mechanism to ascertain and track volume of gas flared/vented; To accurately ascertain and track penalty Payments for gas Flared To build the capacity of CSOs and  the Media To engage relevant MDAs and the National Assembly and to Advocate to meet the commitment of 5,000,000 MT LPG utilization in Nigeria by 2023.

On the outcome of regulation, apart from discrepancies in reporting as indicated by NEITI, NOSDRA and other agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria, AGFAN decried under reporting of flared gas volumes since 2018, Million Dollars Unpaid Penalties to FGN in 2018 and 2019 as well as huge economic, environmental, social and criminal implications to Nigeria

AGFAN expressed concern over the “difficulties in ascertaining environmental consequences of gas flaring especially a) Adverse Health Implications to Man, Animals, & Flora in Petroleum Producing Communities and b) Foregone Investments in Midstream and Downstream  (Revenue, Livelihoods  & Job Losses); Ethical Issues of Corruption and Social /Criminal Consequences Suspicion of increased Venting”.

According to AGFAN, the planned actions among others include to: “Conduct Political, Economic and Situation Analysis on gas flare/venting, LPG Utilization, GHG Emissions reduction efforts/targets and Develop policy Briefs and IEC materials and undertake CAMPAIGNS; Engage the National Assembly to institute the Gas Flare/Vented Volume Tracking and Accountability Mechanisms & enforce its implementation for Payments of Gas Flare Penalties in Nigeria; Engage the Relevant MDAs to support action to harmonise and ascertain volume of gas flared /vented  by GON and to ascertain Payments for Gas Flare Penalties in Nigeria and to Advocate for putting the responsibility of coordination and enforcement of these instruments with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (MFBNP) for Sustainability”.

Others are to Advocate for Nigeria to ramp up efforts to meet her target of utilizing 5,000,000 MT of LPG by 2022; To engage Petroleum Industry Operators /stakeholders to buy in and comply with instituted tracking and reporting mechanisms for gas flared and vented and to Create Awareness and Sensitize the public on Gas Flare Discrepancies, Penalty Underpayments Ramp up, GHG Emission Reduction and INDC Targets through Campaigns in the media and online ADVOCACY MESSAGE, PEA, HASHTAGS & APPEARANCES”.

The event featured group discussion; panel discussion by political class, questions and answer sessions by participants.

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