Daily Independent (Nigeria): Oil communities seek gas flares end by 2006: “One of the oil majors, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), recently shifted its date to end the problematic gas flaring to 2009 ending from the earlier proposed 2008 date.”: Posted Monday 12 Sept 2005
By Akanimo Sampson
Bureau Chief, Port Harcourt
Voices of dissent appear to herald moves by oil multinationals to end gas flaring in the Niger Delta area in three years time, with several of the oil communities preferring a 2006 date.
One of the oil majors, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), recently shifted its date to end the problematic gas flaring to 2009 ending from the earlier proposed 2008 date.
The latest claim by Oilwatch Africa, a network of environmental human rights groups, revealed that most oil communities in the region are pushing for an end to gas flares not later than 2006.
According to the Manager of Oilwatch Africa and Co-ordinator of Pan-Niger Delta Action Council (PANDAC), Isaac Osuoka, “the Associated Gas Re-injection Act of September 28, 1979 compels every company producing oil and gas in Nigeria to submit preliminary programmes for gas re-injection and detailed plans for implementation of gas re-injection. In our interaction with them (oil communities), they are of the view that gas flaring in the Niger Delta should stop in 2006.”
He said the oil communities complain that, “if the oil companies meant well for us, 20 years was enough for them to put out every gas flare,” pointing out that they were expected to submit their gas flare out plan to government by 1980.
Osuoka, however, explained that why the local communities insist on 2006 is the fact that the law attempts to control gas flaring but on the other hand encourage gas re-injection.
“I think the oil communities have a right to demand a stop to gas flaring in 2006. The phenomenon of gas flaring is widespread in the rural oil communities. By throwing up 2006, they are in the main saying that the provision of the Act is not being complied with.”
He further stated that, “as an organisation, neither Oilwatch Africa nor PANDAC thinks there is further justification for even limited and restrictive permit of gas flaring beyond 2006, considering its negative environmental impact in the oil region.”
SPDC’s Corporate External Affairs Manager, Don Boham, said recently in Port Harcourt that it was no longer possible for the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas major to end flaring in 2008.
“Gas flaring from our relevant flow stations will not be eliminated until the end of 2009,” he said, although the company made a commitment in 1996 to end continuous flaring of associated gas by 2008, with the Federal Government subsequently adopting the date as a flares-down target. This necessitated embarking on a major integrated plan to collect and put to economic use the gas otherwise flared form Shell’s network of 73 flow stations.
This, according to the company’s spokesman, also entailed a commitment not to develop any new oil fields without “a clear plan for the utilisation of the associated gas from such fields.”
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