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‘Govt should pursue zero gas flaring with vigour, zeal’


Dr. Layi Fatona

Dr. Layi Fatona

Dr. Layi Fatona is the Managing Director of Niger Delta Exploration & Production Plc. He is a past president and a Fellow of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, (NAPE), and a Certified Petroleum Geologist of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). He spoke with ROSELINE OKERE on the need for the Federal Government to implement policy on gas flaring in the country. Excerpts.

Niger Delta Petroleum Resources and Seven Energy were the only Nigerian companies that have signed for zero gas flaring by 2030. Do you think zero flaring by 2030 is attainable?
Roseline! Not only is it attainable, for the sake of this country, its people and humanity at large, it is something the Government and people of this country must whole heartedly commit to, devote resources towards its actualization and more importantly, including aggressive legislation with very stringent punitive measures for non-complying companies. Indeed, there should be rewards, good one at that, such as tax breaks, for attainment long before 2030. Let any company who is compliant by 2018-20 get some very mouth watering tax breaks as incentive for early compliance.

What are its benefits to your company and Nigeria for supporting the zero flaring by 2030?
First for the benefit of our operating environment, it is much cleaner and healthier. Next, the value captures. We have been able to monetize our entire gas resources (Associated and Non associated gas reserves) in our portfolio, become products, which bring cash flow. On this, the government will derive tax. In the end everyone is a winner.

The Federal Government is yet to join other countries to support the initiative. What is your advice to the government in respect to supporting the zero flaring initiative?
Certainly, there is no lack of will here. It is a matter of turning the objective and making it a priority. This is a new Government, settling in to myriads of problems facing the petroleum industry. My advice is simple. Endorse the initiative, and drive compliance with vigor and zeal.

What is the state of gas flaring in your company presently?
The Directors of the company had empowered Management to pursue a zero gas flaring objective in the last 5 years. That mandate had been pursued to the letter. Today, we have been operating a 100 MM scf/day capacity Gas processing plant, which had allowed us to sustainably produce gas and eliminate gas flaring with only that which is determined as a Technical Flare from our gas production and processing operations. Just that small quantity which must be burnt, to indicate that the plant is in operations. In our case this is less than 0.5% of our daily gas production.

Nigeria has been trying to end gas flaring without success. How do we successfully end gas flaring in the country?
Through sheer determination and discipline. Like all aspects of life, where there is no intent and pursuit of punishment for non compliance, we are bound to be seen as not being successful in the pursuit of this necessary objective to ending gas flaring.

Niger Delta Petroleum Resources seems to defy all odds to be the only indigenous company refining crude oil. Tell us about your success story in petroleum refining? Do you have any plan to expand the present capacity?
Again the Board of the company had always been forward looking. Believing that in our own little ways, we can actually run a fully integrated small oil company. Our Mini refinery had been in full operations for the past 4 years. Running at full installed capacity and doing its little contribution to domestic supply of Diesel into the Nigerian economy. We are currently pursuing a plant capacity expansion to 5K bopd, hopefully this will be in place and fully commissioned in 2016.

Nigeria still depend on imported petroleum products. How do we become self reliant in petroleum refining?
By a deliberate pursuit of a zero crude oil export policy, to be achieved in five years. A rapid way of becoming self reliant, is to have some 20 small companies – Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Look alike (I will call such). Each refining between 1-5 Thousand barrels of crude oil per day, producing multiple products, each strategically located and well spaced all around and in close proximity to the oil producing fields. I believe, there is operating space, for twenty of such small sized companies to flourish all across the Niger Delta.

What is the role of your company in respect to gas to power initiative. How is the company helping to solve the issue of gas to power plants in the country?
We are an active and significant player in this realm, even though we can not be in everything. However, our affiliate company NDWestern, in partnership with NPDC as Operator of OML-34, is today the largest gas supplier in the Western Delta axis. At our owned and operated field, we have just executed a gas to power supply contract. I believe more such gas supply initiatives are under negotiations. Gradually, we are becoming a major gas supply entity.

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