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The Program Manager of Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme (NGFCP), Mr. Justice Derefaka has hailed last week passage of a new bill, which provided for penalty against gas flaring and other malpractices in the oil and gas sector.
One of the highlights of the new Bill is that any licensee 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.
In a telephone interview, Derefaka recalled that “The last legislation on gas flare, which is the Associated Gas Re-injection Act of 1979, came into force 40 years ago, and since then there has been no review or amendment of the Act despite its devastating effect on the host communities.”
He explained that “With the seriousness the Federal Government through the NGFCP under the Minister of Petroleum Resources is deploying in the advancing the business of gas commercialization, the new Act when signed into law will further deepen the accessibility of gas and in the process end gas flaring in Nigeria”.
He said “Already, over 200 bidders have lined up for the 178 identified gas flare sites in oil communities and that show that investors are serious in investing in the over $3.5bn market which will on the other hand achieve gas flare-free oil exploration in Niger Delta going forward”.
Explaining more during the final passage of the Bill, Senate President said “Other objectives of the Bill include ensuring that natural gas is not 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”.
Business Hilights gathered that the Bill also seeks to ensure that no operator establishes an Oil and Gas facility in the country without first obtaining authorisation from the Minister for the design, commissioning and production phases.
Passage specifications showed that the Bill comprises 22 sections including sections on punishment for 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.
In his lead argument for the new bill, the sponsor, Senator Bassey Albert averred that “The approval of the long awaited legislation on gas flaring after 40 years is one of the best parting gifts the 8th Senate could possibly offer Nigerians at this time”.
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