Nigeria’s gas flaring reduction initiative faces delay

Nigeria’s efforts to reduce gas flaring have been delayed by at least six weeks due to the new coronavirus outbreak, the Department of Petroleum Resources said on Wednesday.

The country is trying to commercialise the gas that is currently burned at its wells as waste so that it can be exported or used for power production.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, is one of the top 10 gas-flaring countries in the world.

Oil and gas firms operating in the country flared a total of 244.36 billion scf of gas last year, down from 282.08 billion scf in 2018, according to data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The DPR said in February that it had shortlisted 200 investors to bid for gas flare sites after the evaluation of statements of qualification submitted by interested companies.

The DPR said 45 gas flare sites would be put up for auction in the first phase of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, which was inaugurated in October 2016

But the Director, DPR, Sarki Auwalu, said on Wednesday that the current bidding round had been delayed due to travel restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the virus.

“What is holding (up) the programme is COVID-19. Because (the bidders) need access to the flare points…, they have to go and see (them) physically. We had to officially extend the programme by six weeks,” he added.

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