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Gas Flaring: FG upgrades steering committee to inter-ministerial to drive success

Federal Government has restructured the hitherto ministerial steering committee (SteerCo) of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme (NGFCP) from ministerial to inter-ministerial. This was in response to inclusion of relevant strategic ministries to fast-track the scheme.
The Federal Government had since the creation of the NGFCP in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, stepped up efforts to commercialize the established 178 gas flare sites in Niger Delta for value addition and employment.
Only this week, new reports show that oil producing companies in Nigeria have flared gas worth $2.5billion (N875billion) in the last one year.
Further checks showed the culprits include International Oil Companies (IOCs), Independent Producers and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
Figures garnered from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), also revealed that volume of gas that was not commercialised (flared or re-injected) in March 2019 alone rose to 42 per cent.
The figure on losses by the DPR data, was also corroborated by data from the AfriPERA, an Energy and Infrastructure Policy research organisation, which also fingered the same figure in terms of what Nigeria lost within the period under review which is from March last year to March 2019.
Chief Executive Officer of AfriPERA, Mr. Chinedu Onyeizu averred that the loss was aside the unattended impact of negative externalities associated with gas flaring.
According to him, “Since the 1950s, Nigeria has been burning off its natural gas at flare points and, despite efforts by successive administrations to curtail the wastage, the country loses an estimated 2.5 billion dollars each year to gas flaring as well as the unattended impact of negative externalities associated to gas flaring”.
However, the Chairman, Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), Paul McGrath, has called for more investment in commercialising gas flaring as being worked out now by the NGFCP, saying gas production presents a unique opportunity to provide steady, widely-available, cost-effective and generally affordable power to Nigerians.
In his further submission, McGrath noted that “A shift to gas-fuelled power generation would represent significant savings opportunities over sources such as diesel, which is multiple times more expensive than gas at the current price of $2.5/mmbtu”.
Accordingly, in a statement sent to Business Hilights from the Office of the Program Manager of NGFCP, Mr Justice Derefaka, it explained that “The ministerial steering committee (SteerCo) of the Nigerian NGFCP has now been expanded to accommodate other agencies of Government as well as MPR as the NGFCP moves into the implementation phase”.
According to the statement, “The new agencies include Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment and the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)”.
Premised on that, Derefaka averred that the change will among other things; provide an update to the general public on those interested parties that submitted their Statement of Qualification (SOQ) in response to the Request for Qualification (RfQ) package of the NGFCP.
In line with the unfolding restructuring, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources (MPR) – Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, becomes the Chairman, Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (SteerCo) of the NGFCP.
Part of the restructuring was linked to the retirement of the former Chairman Ministerial Steering Committee of the NGFCP, Engr. Rabiu I. Suleiman as Group Executive Director (GED), NNPC, who until now has also doubled as the Senior Technical Adviser – Refineries, Gas, Power and Downstream Infrastructure to the former Minister.
The Permanent Secretary also appointed Mr. Andrew Ogu Agi as the alternate chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (SteerCo).
Andrew, who doubles as Director, Special duties in the ministry will deliver on a number of roles including, alternate chairman, who is to preside over SteerCo in instances of absence of the Permanent Secretary.
Accordingly, “The new members of the NGFCP Inter-Ministerial committee are: Mr. Mkpa A. Bassey (Deputy Director – Oil and Gas), representing the Ministry of Finance; Mr. Abbas Suleiman(Deputy Director – Environmental Assessment Department), representing the Ministry of Environment and Mr. Usman S. Pindar, (Manager Nigeria Content & Industry Collaboration Department),representing the executive secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF). Others are – Mr. Olusanya Bajomo– Deputy Director, Gas Monitoring and Regulations, Department of Petroleu Resources (DPR) and Mrs. Esther Ifejika, Director Gas, Ministry of Petroleum Resources (MPR)”.