Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ogoni: Less Hot Air and More Action – Gas Flaring Increases in the Niger Delta

UNPO  (Think Africa Press)
7 July 2011

Despite repeated commitments by oil companies and governments, gas flaring continues in Nigeria at an environmental cost.
Below is an article published by Think Africa Press:
Gas flaring in the Niger Delta region highlights the environmental problems posed by resource extraction, and the failure of successive governments to tackle these problems. Goodluck Jonathan, elected as president of Nigeria this April, has the opportunity to take action where his predecessors have failed.
Gas flaring is a routine practice with a number of extractive processes, including the flaring of associated gas following oil extraction. It is a wasteful process, as much of this gas could be used to provide fuel, either for the local market or for export. According to some estimates, $2.5 billion is wasted annually through gas flaring in Nigeria. Perhaps more importantly, the release of these gasses damages the health of the surrounding population, releases enormous amounts of greenhouse gases and contributes to acid rain. In fact, according to a World Bank  report released in 2002, gas flaring in Nigeria is the single greatest source of greenhouse gases in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria has the second highest gas flaring rates in the world, following Russia.
Shell’s most recent Sustainability Report released in April, states that the corporation has recently increased its use of flaring in the Niger Delta, blaming militants and a lack of government funding for this failure. The report also stresses the additional cost of the exercise, stating that additional gas collectors in the region would be priced at another $2 billion. Given that Nigeria’s oil production has amounted to over $56 billion over the last four years alone, the cleanup costs proposed seem more than manageable.

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