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Approval to gas flaring poses threat – ACEP

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The Africa Centre for Energy Pol­icy (ACE, has raised red flags on government’s “no objec­tion” decision to allow the jubilee partners to flare gas until October when the Atuabo gas infrastructure facility is completed.

The decision, the centre says, exposes Ghana to significant environmental and health effects. “Gas flaring is associ­ated with significant en­vironmental and health effects’: the centre stated.

ACEP has strongly con­demned government’s de­cision to allow the flaring of gas. This decision, they say, was largely influenced by financial consideration rather than the welfare of Ghanaians.

“We strongly condemn the decision by Government to allow the flar­ing of gas as we believe that enough due diligence was not done; and that the decision was largely influenced by financial consideration rather than the welfare of the people” Senior Energy Policy Man­ager for ACED said.

In a document signed by Nasir Alfa Mohammed, Senior Energy Policy Man­ager for Executive Director, the centre cited various environmental and hu­man related dangers that gas flaring could create for Ghana and the rest of the world.

The document also re­vealed that the flaring of gas could affect agriculture and thereby greatly affect Ghana’s economy in the long run.

“First, gas flaring will contribute significantly to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. This will contribute to climate change, which will have serious implications for both Ghana and the rest of the world. Second, as is the case in Nigeria, gas flaring could also result in acid rains which could have adverse environmental impacts. For example, it has been reported that cor­rugated roofs in the Niger Delta region have been corroded by the composi­tion of the rain that falls as a result of flaring. The primary causes of acid rain are emissions of sulphur dioxide (S02) and nitro­gen oxides (NO) which combine with atmospheric moisture to form sulphuric acid and nitric acid respec­tively. Acid rain acidifies lakes and streams and damages vegetation. In addition, acid rain acceler­ates the decay of building materials and paints.

Third, the flares as­sociated with gas flaring could contaminate our atmosphere with resultant environmental harm. Science has proven that atmospheric contaminants resulting from gas flaring, such as oxides of Nitrogen, Carbon and Sulphur (NO’, CO2, CO, S02), hydrocarbons and ash, photochemical oxidants, and hydrogen sulphide (H2S) could acidify the soil and deplete soil nutrient, hence reduc­ing the nutritional value of crops within such vicinity. It has also been established that the tremendous heat that is produced and the acid nature of soil pH in gas flaring could result in no vegetation in the areas surrounding the flare. This could affect agriculture which is the main stay of our economy” the report stated.

Aside the significant ‘.angers that the flaring could pose to the environ­ment and humans, the report also mentioned the possible loss of significant amount of gas which could be used to generate electri­city to help resolve the current energy crisis facing the country.

“Aside the environmen­tal and human health im­plications of gas flaring, we are more worried that Ghana would lose mil­lions of dollars’ worth of gas which would literally be burnt of daily in the at­mosphere over the autho­rised flaring period. Much of this can be converted for domestic use and for electricity generation pur­poses. By so doing the level of electricity generation in the country could be raised closer to meeting national demand” the report added.

The centre has, as a result, called for the has­tening of the completion of the Atuabo gas project to manage the gas to the ben­efit of the country rather than flaring it. They have also recom­mended that, if the ap­proval for flaring is ef­fected, the process should be well monitored and the Jubilee partners compelled to disclose the volumes of gas flared on daily basis.

They have also called on the Jubilee Partners to publish their contingency plan in case adverse effects have been established as a result of the flaring with Government conducting an environmental audit when the flaring is ended to assess its potential im­pact on communities.

In its recent report on gas development in Ghana, the ACEP expressed its disgust at the delay in the completion of the Gas In­frastructure Projects and cited the associated cost and revenue losses to the state, saying the flaring of gas is yet another cost Ghana would suffer as a result of indecision.

The Atuabo gas project, also referred to as “West­ern Corridor Gas Infra­structure Development Project’ which is being executed by SINOPEC in­cludes the installation of offshore pipeline, onshore pipeline, a gas process­ing plant, a Natural Gas Liquids export system for the export of LPG; and an office complex.

Source by: Business Day

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Reporting Oil and Gas project was launched on 4th June 2009atTakoradi, Western Region, Ghana by Penplusbytes (PPB – www.penplusbytes.org) with the vision of providing a one stop online information and knowledge about Ghana’s oil and gas sector
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