Published 24 November 2021
Other than the economic loss of energy source, flaring and venting of associated gas creates local, environmental and public health impacts, as well as contributing to the potential for climate change and wildlife extinction. Nigeria is a country blessed with immense natural gas with a current reserve of over 199 trillion cubic feet of gas. The issue of gas flaring in Nigeria has become a topical one in view of the devastating consequence it has on the socio-economic lives of the people in the affected areas. Historically, it is said that gas flaring is as old as oil production in Nigeria. No doubt, it is the exploration activities of the oil companies in Nigeria particularly in the oil rich Niger Delta region that are responsible for the flaring of gas in an unprecedented scale. This paper appraises the up-to-date laws and institutions governing and regulating the flaring and venting of gas in Nigeria. The paper argues that the legal framework regulating the petroleum industry in Nigeria though adequate enough to curtail the rate of gas flaring and venting but has under-performed as a result of the refusal of policy and decision makers to implement these laws, thus allowing for continuous flaring of gas. The paper found that though the existing legal framework did not advocate for total cessation of gas flaring but their implementation particularly the recent Flare Gas Regulations 2018, which is the legal vehicle to drive the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme, could drastically reduce the rate of gas flaring in the country and generates huge income to the development of the economy. The paper highlighted the challenges of the regulatory institutions and campaigned that they should be properly equipped and funded to enable them live up to expectations with respect to their duties. Hence, the paper will be useful to legal practitioners and industry experts interested in the flare gas regime in Nigeria.
This paper will be part of the OGEL Special Issue on "Law and Policy for Gas Flaring in a Low-carbon Economy". More information here www.ogel.org/news.asp?key=660