According to the World Bank/GGFR, Nigeria flared approximately 14.6bcm of gas in 2010, second only to Russia. More gas is flared in Nigeria than used in power plants. While in decade between 1996-2006, gas flare volumes declined significantly, in the last several years, the volumes flared have been largely stable.
Developing economic solutions to gas flaring face barriers such as the low prices in the domestic gas market and the limited nature of the existing gas transmission infrastructure.
The development of the gas and electrical industry in Nigeria are closely linked in that without the infrastructure to transport the gas to power plants, the power situation will remain severely constrained. And without a sustainable and functioning electrical market, it will not be possible to generate the revenue necessary to allow for gas prices high enough to justify the development of the sector.
Given its abundant supply, gas is clearly the most viable fuel of choice in the country, as well as the lowest CO2 content among the fossil fuels. The Government actively encourages its use with the most prominent government initiatives underway being the Gas Master Plan of 2008 and the establishment of Gas Aggregator Company in 2010. The Gas Master Plan has the goal is to ensure that gas is transmitted and distributed to all parts of the country.
GREENING THE GAS SECTOR:
Improving the scope and reliability of the gas sector is an important component in limiting GHG emissions. It is interesting that CDM for gas flare reductions has been utilized more by indigenous Nigerian companies than the International Oil Companies.
Both domestic and international incentives are needed to prioritize the use of currently flared gas. The issue of methane emissions, until now largely ignored, has not been addressed. Given the likely low combustion efficiency in flares and the level of maintenance and vandalism of gas transmission and distribution lines, methane emissions could well exceed CO2 emissions from flaring.