End to gas flaring by 2020 is a mirage–IOGRHS

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*Gas flare in Nigeria's Niger Delta region

Chairman of Institute of Oil and Gas Research and Hydrocarbon Studies (IOGRHS) Prof. Akin Akindoyeni has said that the 2020 deadline to end gas flaring recently projected by the federal government is not realisable.

Speaking in an interview with energy correspondents at the Oil and Gas Production Forum held in Lagos yesterday, Akindoyeni said nothing was being done since the inception of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) make the 2020 deadline a reality.

“When you set goals, you have to be sure the goals are realisable. We have asked the same question on the feasibility of the 2020 deadline to end gas flaring.

“But so far, we have not seen much progress. No action has been taken to make that deadline realisable.”

Akindoyeni also spoke on the importance of the Petroleum Industry Bill and the need to encourage local refining of crude oil so as to sustain industries that utilise its bi-products.

He said Nigeria gains nothing by the continuous exportation of crude oil meant for local consumption, noting that it has led to the importation of products such disinfectants, fertilisers and plastics, all bi-products of crude oil.

“As an institute, there are other research areas we have looked into. It is on the influence of exploitation of crude oil on the environment, for instance, to what extent has it increased employment for the young people? To what extent has it enhanced their economic development? We found out that it has not.

“If you go to the riverine (area) in Ondo or Bayelsa State, you will find out that these areas have been so polluted that some villages have been vacated. For us, it is not just about cleaning up the oil spill. We want to know if these people can return to their normal means of livelihood after the clean-up. Would they be able to farm on the affected lands? Can they get fish from the water?

“It is a research that will cost hundreds of millions in naira. Any organisation that is ready to back this research project is welcome,” he said.

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