From Fred Itua, Abuja
Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas Resources and the sponsor of Gas Flaring (Prohibition and Punishment) Bill 2017, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, has summoned international and local oil companies operating in the country to appear before a public hearing committee.
Senator Akpan who spoke to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, said when passed into law by the National Assembly, the bill is expected to revolutionise the oil and gas sector.
The bill, which was first read in the Senate chambers on November 3, 2016, passed through the second reading stage on Thursday, March 9, 2017 after a successful debate.
Speaking on the importance of the bill, Senator Akpan, said it will enhance a rapid infrastructural development of the oil and gas sector, enhance government revenue as well as improve the lives of the people of the Niger Delta Region, while also providing incentives for companies with clearly defined flare out projects.
According to Senator Akpan, the flaring of natural gas in association with crude oil is one of the most dangerous environmental and energy waste practices in the Nigerian petroleum industry. He noted that gas flaring affects the environment and human health, results in economic loss, deprives the government of associated tax revenues and trade opportunities, and deprives consumers of a clean and cheaper energy source and environment.
According to him, the purpose of the public hearing on the Gas Flaring Prohibition Bill is to receive contributions of the general public and industry stakeholders to the bill to ensure a holistic and effective implementation of the Act when eventually passed into law.
He explained that the bill will, among others, seek to increase gas flaring penalty to an appropriate level to de-incentivise the practice of gas flaring while introducing other market measures to encourage efficient utilisation of gas. The Bbill, he also said, will make it mandatory for operators to submit gas utilisation plan within 90 days of the commencement of the Act for effective monitoring.
Expected to appear at the public hearing are international oil companies, national oil companies, independent producers, marginal field operators, LNG companies, government agencies and regulators.