GAS FLARING IN THE NIGER DELTA: ITS ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS.
Abstract Nigeria flares 17.2 billion m3 of natural gas per year in conjunction with the exploration of crude oil in the Niger Delta. This gas flaring expends huge amounts of energy and causes environmental degradation and disease. Even though oil has become the center of current industrial development and economic activities, the links between oil exploration and exploitation processes and the incumbent environmental, health, and social problems in oil producing communities are not well known. This paper examines the potential benefits of a gas flaring reduction on the local economy and environment, including the projected benefits of utilizing associated gas. Also, the carbon monoxide level of ambient air was collected at four villages, and other emissions related to flaring evaluated through related research. The results show that the reduction of gas flaring can improve human health and the environment. This paper concludes that the local livelihood in the Niger Delta can be significantly improved by promoting a shift from flaring the associated gas to collecting it for use as a gaseous fuel and for electricity generation. Although political feasibility poses a significant hurdle, economic and energy initiatives need to be strongly integrated with other policies that promote development. Introduction Nigeria flares 17.2 billion3 m of natural gas per year in conjunction with the exploration of crude oil in the Niger Delta (GGFR 2002). This high level of gas flaring is equal to approximately one quarter of the current power consumption of the African continent (GGFR 2002). This problem has been produced by a range of international oil companies which have been in operation for over four decades (Africa News Service 2003). The economic and environmental ramifications of this high level of gas flaring are serious because this process is a significant waste of potential fuel which is simultaneously polluting water, air, and soil in the Niger Delta. In this paper, I show how a reduction of gas flaring could benefit the local economy and the environment in Nigeria. As a visitor I was shocked to watch the endless burning of this gas 24 hours a day. Even though we have grown to be fairly dependent on oil and it has become the center of current industrial development and economic activities, we rarely consider how oil exploration and exploitation processes create environmental, health, and social problems in local communities near oil producing fields (where I call “oil producing communities” in the rest of this paper) (O’Rourke and Connolly 2003). For this reason, I hope that this study helps us, as oil users, to be more aware of the actual costs of oil production and to more actively seek corporate accountability in oil-producing communities There are various reasons for the continuous gas flaring. From a political perspective, as Michael Watts (2001) said “In Nigeria, oil became the basis for important forms of political mobilization,” in which petro-capital became the cause of political violence against those advocating environmental justice or compensation for the costs of ecological degradation. The Nigerian government has not enforced environmental regulations effectively because of the overlapping and conflicting jurisdiction1 of separate governmental agencies governing petroleum and the environment as well
as because of non-transparent governance mechanisms (Kaldany 2001, GGFR 2002). Neither the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) nor the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has implemented antiflaring policies for natural gas waste from oil production, nor have they monitored the emissions to ensure compliance with 1 Since 1988, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) has had the authority to issue standards for water, air and land pollution and has had the authority to make regulations for oil industry. However, in...
References: Africa News Service. 2003. Oil companies and gas flaring in niger delta. October 14, 2003. African Business. 2001. Nigeria: gas is more than just hot air. African Business December 2001. Ambio. 1995. Perception and reality: assessing priorities for sustainable development in the niger river delta. Ambio 24: 527-538 Argo, J. 2001. Unhealthy effects of upstream oil and gas flaring. http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/oil-and-gas-exploration/soss-oil-and-gas-flaring.pdf, accessed May 7, 2004 Ashton, N.J., S. Arnott and O. Douglas. 1999. The human ecosystems of the Niger delta - an ERA handbook. Environmental Rights Action, Lagos. 224pp. Commery, P. 2002. Special report oil and gas: major projects in Africa. New African. September 2002. Energy Information Administration. 2003. Country analysis briefs: Nigeria http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/nigenv.html ESMAP (Joint UNDP/World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme). 2001. African gas Initiative: main report. http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/energy/ AGI/240-01 %20Africa%20Gas%20Initiative%20Main%20Report.pdf
EC (European Commission) and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 1999. Energy as a tool for sustainable development for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. New York. Ezzati, M. and D.M. Kammen. 2002. Household energy, indoor air pollution, and health in developing countries: knowledge base for effective interventions. Annual Reviews Energy and Environment 27: 233-270. Gerth, J. and L. Labaton. 2004. Shell withheld reserves data aid nigeria. New York Times. March 19,2004. Global Gas Flaring Reduction A Public Private Partnership. Workbook for small-scale utilization of associated gas. http://www.worldbank.org/ogmc/ggfrsmallscale.htm, accessed May 7, 2004. Global Gas Flaring Reduction Initiative. 2002. Report on consultations with stakeholders. World Bank Group in collaboration with the Government of Norway. http://www.worldbank.org/ogmc/files/global_gas_flaring_initiative.pdf, accessed February 11, 2004 Goldemberg, J. 2000. Chapter 10. rural energy in developing countries. In World energy assessment: energy and the challenge of sustainability. UNDP. New York. Hyne, J.N. 1991. Dictionary of petroleum exploration, drilling & production. PennWell Pub.Co., Okla. 625pp. Johnson, M.R., O. Zastavniuk, D.J. Wilson, and L.W. Kostiuk. 1999. Efficiency measurements of flares in a cross flow. University of Albelta. Kaldany, R. 2001. Global gas flaring reduction initiative. Oil, Gas and Chemicals World Bank Group, Marrakesh. Kindzierski, W.D. 2000. Importance of human environmental exporsure to hazardous air pollutants from gas flares. Environmental Reviews 8: 41-62 Langenkamp, R.D ed. 1994. The illustrated petroleum reference dictionary. PennWell Books, Okla. 904pp. Leahey, D.M. and K. Preston. 2001. Theoretical and observational assessments of flare efficiencies. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association. 51: 1610-1616 Manby, B. 1999. The price of oil: corporate responsibility and human rights violations in Nigeria 's oil producing communities. Human Rights Watch, New York. 202pp. NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission) http://www.nddconline.org, accessed May 8, 2004. Okonta, I. and O. Douglas 2001. Where vultures feast : Shell, human rights, and oil in the Niger Delta. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco. 267 pp. O’Rourke, D and S. Connolly 2003. Just oil? the distribution of environmental and social impacts of oil production and consumption. Reviews in Advance 28: 05.1-05.31.
Project underground. http://www.moles.org/ProjectUnderground/oil/nigeria/burning.html, accessed May 7, 2004 Ross, M. 2001. Extractive sectors and the poor. Oxfam. Boston. SPDC (the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited). 2002. People and the environment annual report. SPDC, Nigeria. 52pp. Strosher, M. 1996. Investigation of flare gas emissions in Alberta. Alberta Research Council, Alberta, Canada. Smith, K.R. 1999. Fuel emission, health and global warming. Paper presented at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Regional Wood Energy Development Program meeting on Wood Energy, Climate, and Health, October, Phuket, Thailand. Uma, R. and Kim Oanh, N.T. 1999. Measuring stove emissions. Paper presented at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Regional Wood Energy Development Program meeting on Wood Energy, Climate, and Health, October, Phuket, Thailand. Urhobo Historical Society. http://www.waado.org, accessed February 10, 2004 USEPA. http://www.epa.gov, accessed February 7, 2004 Watts, J.W. 2000. Contested communities, malignant markets, and gilded governance: justice, resource extraction, and conservation in the tropics. Pp 21-82 In People, plants, & justice: the politics of nature conservation. C. Zerner, ed. Columbia University Press, New York. Watts, M. 2001. Petro-violence: community, extraction, and political ecology of a mythic commodity. Pp. 189-212 In Violent environments. Watts, M. and Peluso,N. eds. Cornell University Press.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document