Weak laws reasons for routine gas flaring – Senate committee

The Senate Committee on Gas has said routine gas flaring was on the increase in the country, despite the various policies regulating the gas sector, because of limited regulation and what it called “excessive ministerial permissions.”

The committee accused international oil companies of deliberately flouting various rules regulating the sector because the country was not enforcing its law guiding the gas sector of the economy.

Chairman of the committee, Albert Akpan who stated this yesterday at the inaugural session of the committee in Abuja, regretted that the mechanisms available to government to curb irregularities in the gas sector were not being fully utilized.

“Despite the various policy regulating the sector, routine gas flaring still continues; companies are even satisfied paying penalties and the mechanisms available to government to curb these irregularities are not fully utilized due to excessive ministerial permissions, limited regulation and the incontrovertible position of NPC in the Joint Ventures, “he said.

Akpan, who represents Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial zone, assured that his committee would look critically into the economic, health and environmental degradation of the oil bearing communities caused by the continuous gas flaring in the country.

“Strong and effective legal framework must be put in place and sanction enforced against erring multinational companies to act deterrence. The time to act is now,” he said.

While noting that a recent report showed that there was an increase of about 36.8 percent of cooking gas usage in Nigeria in the last three years, while over 80 percent of Nigeria household still relied on kerosene, firewood and other dangerous energy sources, the senator insisted that the committee would ensure that the federal government agenda of encouraging more Nigerians to embrace the usage of liquefied petroleum gas, seen to be clean, safe and affordable, was achieved.

He added that the committee would explore legal and institutional frameworks for oil and gas operations in Nigeria towards devising a strategic document that will complement the existing gas policies and dynamic implementation of the gas master plan.



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