Gas Flaring in the Niger Delta

7275 Words Aug 30th, 2013 30 Pages
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.
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(Manby 1999) their own regulations (Manby 1999). From an economic perspective, the Nigerian government’s main interest in the oil industry is to maximize its monetary profits from oil production (ESMAP 2001). Oil companies find it more economically expedient to flare the natural gas and pay the insignificant fine than to reinject the gas back into the oil wells. Additionally, because there is an insufficient energy market especially in rural areas (GGFR 2002), oil companies do not see an economic incentive to collect the gas. From a social perspective, the oil-producing communities have experienced severe marginalization and neglect (Watts 2000). The environment and human health have frequently been a secondary consideration for oil companies and the Nigerian government. However, although there may be reasons for the continuous gas flaring, there are many strong arguments suggesting that it should be stopped. Corporations’ accountability to the people and environment surrounding them imply that oil companies should be required to reinject the gas, to recover it, or to shut down any extraction facilities in which the gas flaring is occurring. This paper, however, calls attention to the fact that in addition to these ethical concerns there are very real potential economic and environmental benefits of recovering the gas as an energy source. Correcting these market failures would be a simple way to ensure that the natural gas currently flared
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