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Nigeria Loses N305bn Annually To Fraud In Gas Flare Data

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BEVERLY HILLS, December 14, (THEWILL) – The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu on Tuesday disclosed that the Federal Government loses between $500 million and $1 billion yearly owing to the falsification of gas flare data in the country.

He stated this in Abuja at a gas competence seminar with the theme 'Towards ending gas flaring and unlocking gas potential in Nigeria,” hinting that government would set up an independent tracking mechanism in 2017 to ascertain the actual volume of gas that was flared in the country.

According to him, “My take is that we lose over half a billion to a billion of government revenue looking at the basis of the present penalties position.

“Nobody is effectively monitoring the volume, so when you actually go for the real effect of what is flared, in terms of statistics, it is much higher than those figures. However, we must appreciate the efforts that have been made in the past to increase penalties, among others.”

Kachikwu insisted that there is an urgent need for the country to devise a policy that will be targeted at eliminating gas flaring.

“Beginning next year, we will be putting up an independent tracking mechanism, not relying on figures from the IOCs and from the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to find out what really is the flare volume. My feeling is that there is a lot of management of those figures to suit the cap of the penalties that are being charged,” he said.

The Minister also noted that the marginal rise in the price of crude oil in the past few days was not an indication of an imminent boom in the cost of the commodity in the nearest future.

He explained that the decisions by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, and non-members of the cartel to cut down production may have warranted the marginal rise in crude prices, but stressed that further increase in prices could not be guaranteed as this may not last.

Kachikwu said: “Now, as good as all these may be, the reality is that in the world, the era of high priced oil is gone. In fact, it is going to take a lot of work to sustain the $60 per barrel price and it is going to take a lot of discipline and concerted effort as well.”

He emphasised the need for the country to commercialise its gas resources, stating that crude oil alone cannot sustain the economy.

According to him, ensuring gas commercialization, utilization and transportation would go a long way in buoying the economy and wondered why Nigeria was still facing electricity problems despite producing a lot of gas.

Speaking earlier, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, stated that the perennial power problems in the country were man-made and not as a result of technical challenges.

He stated that in the last couple of days, gas flaring and most especially, sabotage had deprived most of the country's critical gas power plants of gas, thereby, leading to a significant decline in power supply all over Nigeria.