#EndGasFlaringNG: The Unspoken Dangers of Gas Flaring In Nigeria — by @Soniaryde

An unidentified woman carries her tapioca after drying it near a gas flare belonging to the Shell oil company in Utorogun, Nigeria, March 5, 2006 (file photo).
  • Climate Change: Gas flaring contributes to worldwide climate change by the emission of carbon dioxide, which represents around 0.6% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and methane another potent greenhouse gas.
  • Temperature: In the Niger Delta, constant gas flaring has led to a significant increase in daily temperatures which kills aquatic life, scotches or withers plants and makes life unbearable for the inhabitants, amongst many other effects.
  • Effects on Agriculture: The flares give rise to atmospheric contaminants that acidify the soil, hence depleting soil nutrient. Since acidic soils do not support plant growth, farming is impossible.
  • Pollution: Gas flaring leads to the emission of pollutants which are harmful to both humans and the environment. Byproducts such as carbon monoxide pollute the air and are associated with cancer, deformities in children, lung damage, skin problems etc. These pollutants also contaminate waterways making it unfit for living and consumption. Also, the constant sound of flames burning may cause noise pollution. Finally, especially at nights, the inhabitants are overexposed to the light produced when gas is flared.
  • Psychological Trauma: areas, where the effects of gas flaring have stripped away the means of livelihood, have high cases of unemployment and crimes. Also, the feeling of abandonment by the country may breed resentment towards the country.
  • Gas Flare Capture: To prevent the burning of associated gas, there needs to be efficient infrastructure to capture it. The Department of Petroleum Resources recently called for investors to bid for Gas Flare Sites. The government needs to ensure that successful investors are properly screened, capable, financially equipped and monitored to ensure none of the gas is wasted.
  • Power Generation: Natural gas currently powers the national electricity grid. The government needs to build local gas-fired power plants to supply power for local residential or industrial uses or for injection into the national grid. Also, power companies should be allowed to recover from their customers the costs of production.
  • Focus on The Large-Scale Industrial Applications of Gas: Gas is a feedstock in the petrochemical, chemical, construction industries. Since gas is a byproduct of oil drilling, extraction costs are already reduced. Hence, it is a cheaper resource for these industries. The government should implement favorable policies that encourage these industries to purchase associated gas.
  • Ban Enforcement: The government needs to enforce the payment of the gas flaring penalties and not accepting any tradeoff. If the government takes a stand to clamp down on gas flaring, the oil companies will increase their efforts too. A non-functioning oil well won’t generate revenue for the oil companies too.
  • Biological Remediation: In areas already adversely affected by gas flaring, the government needs to increase remediation efforts and make use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to identify flare sites and track cleanup efforts.
  1. Natural Gas. (August 2020). Wikipedia. https://en.m.wikipedia.ord/wiki/Natural_gas
  2. Gas Flaring Continues Scorching Niger Delta (Nov 14 2018) DW. amp.dw.com/en/gas-flaring-continues-scorching-niger-delta/a-46088235
  3. The Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme: A Win-Win Situation? AELEX. www.aelex.com/nigerian-gas-flare-commercialization-programme-win-win-situation/?utm_source=mondaq&utm_medium+syndication&utm_campaign=LinkediIn-intefration
  4. Aregbe, A. (2017). Natural Gas Flaring — Alternative Solutions. World Journal of Engineering and Technology, 5, 139–153. doi: 10.4236/wjet.2017.51012.
  5. Asu F. (august, 2020). Oil Companies Lose N87.16bn To Gas Flaring. Punch Nigeria. punchng.com/fg-oil-companies-lose-n87–16bn-to-gas-flaring/?amp=1
  6. Christopher D. Elvidge, Et Al. The Potential Role of Natural Gas Flaring In Meeting Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Targets Energy Strategy Reviews 20 (2018), 156–162
  7. Ogolo N.A & Onyekonwu, M.O. Gas Flaring: Proposed Hydrate Solution as A Feasible Option For The Niger Delta. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/178304-MS.



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