Amid economic crunch, Nigeria flares N9tn gas in 11 years

Although Nigeria’s gas flare rate has been decreasing over the years, the country still has a long way to go to attain net zero by 2060. OPEOLUWANI AKINTAYO writes on what gas flaring has cost the country in the last 11 years

Nigeria is currently cash-strapped as it continues to struggle to meet its financial obligations. The country plans to borrow N11 trillion to fund the N21.83 trillion budget for this year. This is over half of the entire 2023 budget. Despite battling a cash crunch, the country has wasted N9tn revenue through gas flaring in the last 10 years.

Between 2012 and 2022, Nigeria flared an estimated 80 billion standard cubic metres of gas worth about N9tn as part of its oil production process.

A breakdown showed that in 2012, about 9.6 billion standard cubic metres worth N460m ($1,100m) of gas was wasted.

In 2013, 9.3 billion standard cubic feet of gas were flared into the environment, 2014, 8.4 billion, 2016, 7.3 billion, 2017, 7.7 billion, 2018, 7.5 billion, 2019, 7.9 billion, 2020, 7.2 billion, and in 2021, 6.6 billion cubic metres of gas was flared, according to World Bank.

Gas flared in 2012 could have earned Nigeria the sum of $1,100m, $1,075m in 2013, $970, 000 in 2014, $980,000 in 2015, $810,000 in 2016, $880,000 in 2017, $860,000 in 2018, $890,000 in 2019, $825,000 in 2020, and about $761,000 in 2021, according to World Bank.

Data from the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency showed that from January to November 2022, Nigeria flared an estimated 5.6 billion standard cubic metres of gas valued at $685m.

Meanwhile, an analysis of the data showed that the country has successfully cut the volume of gas it flared in last three years.

Nigeria has a lot of natural gas reserves yet to be fully harnessed and utilised.

In 2021, 7,177.53 million standard cubic feet of natural gas were produced on average per day, with the majority exported as liquefied natural gas. In 2020, the total production volume of natural gas in Nigeria was around 52 billion cubic meters. This was an increase compared to the previous year.

The country joined the league of oil and gas-producing countries in 1956 after oil was discovered in commercial quantities in Oloibiri, Bayelsa State. As of today, the country ranks 12th largest producer of natural gas in the world and second in Africa with 3.01 billion standard cubic feet yearly, a sharp decline from its proven gas reserve of about 209.5 trillion cubic feet.

Although Nigeria’s natural gas is low in Hydrogen Sulphide and Carbon Dioxide impurities, gas flaring is still estimated at nearly $2m/day.  Nigeria has more associated gas reserves than non-associated gas, yet, non-associated gas makes up more than half of the country’s annual gas production.

Nigeria generated 22 million tonnes of LNG yearly as of 2020.

In 2021, 7,177.53 million standard cubic feet of natural gas were produced per day, the majority of which was exported as liquefied natural gas.