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Government under fire for approval to gas flaring

Ghana Gas The Africa Centre for En­ergy Policy (ACEP) has strongly condemned gov­ernment’s decision to al­low the flaring of gas by Jubilee partners until October when the Atuabo gas infrastructure facility is completed The decision, the centre says, exposes Ghana to significant environmental and health effects. 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” Nasir Alfa Mohammed, senior energy policy manager for ACEP said.

Danger alert                                                                                                                                                                                     ACEP in its report cited various environmental and human related dangers that gas flaring could create for Ghana and the rest of the world and 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. 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. 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 dangers 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.

Way forward                                                                                                                                                                                      The centre calls 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. ACEP also 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: Ghana/ 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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