In May 2009, the Nigerian government once again extended the deadline to end gas flaring…Gas flaring is the burning of the natural gas that is produced on the surface during the production process. The flares are either blown off in the sky or in giant sized low level pits on the ground and are in the midst of villages and farmland. They burn gas that produces huge flames and toxic gases. This latest postponement is one in a series dating back to a December 2007 deadline which which was preceeded by the original flare-out date of 1984. For a full report on the impact of toxic flares see ERA.
Despite the so called agreement to end flaring Shell has just launched a new gas flare in it’s Opolo-Epie facility
There is an ominous new arrival in the tropical forest outside Yenagoa in the southern Nigerian state of Bayelsa. It travels on black metal stilts above the green canopy before sinking into a concrete bunker where, when the bulldozers and cranes have finished work, millions of cubic feet of natural gas will be pumped before going up in smoke.
“The flares pump 400 million tons of CO2 annually into
the atmosphere. 13% of the gas flared in the world comes from Nigeria alone and stands at about 23 billion cubic meters per year. This quantity is enough to meet Nigeria’s energy needs and leave a healthy balance for export. Through this obnoxious act; the country has lost about $72 billion in revenues for the period 1970-2006 or about $2.5 billion annually.3 All these go up in smoke yearly, leaving death and destruction in its path “. Nnimmo Bassey – ERA.
Last week Nigeria’s Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan announced the governments plan for renewed power generation and supply and called for support from the US for Nigeria’s efforts to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. We do not need nuclear technology. We have an even more powerful guaranteed source of energy – it’s called the SUN. We also have billions of dollars of gas going to waste and polluting our environment which could adequately supply power needs. Sources of power on our doorstep – but that would be too easy, require too much foresight and common sense for the leadership and maybe not enough in kickbacks.
“The biggest need for that gas is in Nigeria. Nigeria is in the grip of a power generation crisis and the gas that is being burned could go a long way towards providing the electricity the country desperately needs in order to develop its economy”.