Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gas Flaring in Niger Delta and Offshore

As reported today on NPR's Morning Edition2, gas flaring from Nigerian wells and refineries emits more greenhouse gases than any other single source in Africa south of the Sahara. Even more important for the Nigerian people are the chronic health effects and contamination of the air, water, and soil in the delta which result from the practice of flaring rather than capturing the natural gas. Approximately 24 billion m3 of natural gas are wasted by flaring in the Niger delta and offshore, and the flares are bright enough to be clearly detected in satellite images as shown above.

According to Nigerian economist Anthony Adegbulugbe, quoted on the TVE program Earth Report, Nigerian natural gas wasted by flaring would be enough to provide electricity to half of Africa for a year. Amazingly enough, however, Russian oil and gas production is even more wasteful. Current research by NOAA research scientist Chris Elvidge and associates1 has found that Russia actually flares more than twice Nigeria's 24 billion m3 volume. Because most of Russia's oil production is in Siberia and other sparsely populated regions, however, the local and regional environmental impacts are somewhat less extreme.

1 Elvidge, C. D., Baugh, K. E., Tuttle, B. T., Howard, A. T., Pack, D. W., Milesi, C., and Erwin, E. H., 2007, A Twelve Year Record of National and Global Gas Flaring Volumes Estimated Using Satellite Data. Boulder, Colo.: NOAA National Geophysical Data Center.
2 Quist-Arcton, Ofebia, 2007, Gas Flaring Disrupts Life in Oil-Producing Niger Delta, National Public Radeio, 24 July.

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At 10:55 AM , Blogger Shinade said...

Very interesting as always...as a matter of fact...in relation to gas...I too am spreading some...you see I was once again for the 100th time this month tagged...and, I truly am trying to pick people who I think will make good choices...so my dear freind...due to your good taste and possible mis-fortune this morning you are tagged. The post will be up shortly....forgive me...~jackie http://shinade.blogspot.com

At 1:56 PM , Blogger Ishtar said...

Hi! Will be tagging you tomorrow; look at www.ishtarnews.blogspot.com

At 11:02 AM , Blogger joe-6-pack said...

I guess trapping the methane and transporting it to the marketplace - by dirigible - would not be a good idea.

"Holy Hindenburg Batman, did you see that flash?"

At 9:30 AM , Blogger pamelastitch said...

i hope that you are okay. You have been silent for awhile..


At 1:01 PM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

joe-6-pack: I think that there are other ways to trap the natural gas, some of which are used in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a case of cutting corners.
pamelastitch: I have just been busy with moving, settling into a new town, and starting a new semester at a new university. I will have a post up later today.

At 12:49 AM , Blogger joe-6-pack said...


I was joking about the dirigible (sp.?).

I wonder if there is a way they can re-inject the gas back into the reservoirs, for secondary recovery and to store it for a time when they have a gas pipeline available. It is just such a shame to waste that natural gas.

At 8:32 AM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

I know that they do inject gases into reservoirs in Texas, but that is mostly to produce from played-out deposits.

At 3:22 PM , Blogger SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Interesting but sad. I recently read that parts of the Niger Delta are now radio active and there is a spike in cancer related illnesses.With all the issues thatcountry faces, only God knows when people will get adequate access to healthcare.

At 1:22 PM , Blogger Omodudu said...

Interesting! My suspicion is that the argument may become less compelling once the cost side of the story is factored in.
Also power in Africa is hugely subsidized, a funcional system isn't quite sustainable yet. Like any economic argument, there are two appraches which most of the time do not arrive at the same conclusion...the story and the data..
Great entry.

At 7:32 PM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

@omodudu - I presume that you are talking about the cost of capturing the natural gas? I doubt that this has been considered that much. Nigerians do use natural gas to cook with, don't they?

At 12:18 PM , Blogger bathmate said...

As always an excellent posting.The
way you write is awesome.Thanks. Adding more information will be more useful.


At 2:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to express more your opinion to attract more readers, because just a video or plain text without any personal approach is not that valuable. But it is just form my point of view

At 3:51 AM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

@Anonymous - Every post is about something interesting to me, but in some cases I have stronger opinions than others. I do not mind having a limited readership, although I know that a lot of people must read and never comment.

At 11:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have copy writer for so good articles? If so please give me contacts, because this really rocks! :)

At 7:20 PM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

@Anonymous - I am the author of everything on here, but I do cite and paraphrase material from various publications and web logs. Let me know if you have an interest in hiring me on contract.


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