The Federal Government yesterday countered the Minister ofState for Energy (Petroleum), Mr. Odein Ajumogobia assuring that there was no going back on the December 31, 2008 deadline for oil companies operating in the country to stop gasflaring.
Ajumogobia had said that the December 31, 2008 date was not “firm” ,saying it was difficult to put a definite date on the discontinuation of gas flaring.
It is very interesting that Ajumogobia who is heading such sensivity position and knowing the volatile nature the area is, is unaware that officials of the Ministry of Energy(Gas) were putting finishing touches to arrangementsthat that would ensure that no gas is flared by the final date and the policy on gas flaring, which stipulates sanctions and penalties for non-compliance,amongst others, was being prepared for approval byPresident Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
And to think that the detailed policy would soon be unveiled by the Minister of State for Energy (Gas), Emmanuel Odusina (his counterpart on the same sector) and that under the new arrangements, the Department of PetroleumResources (DPR) would be empowered to enforce all the new sanctions and penalties.
Anyways it is commendable that this Yar'Adua Administration has done what successive Militarygovernments and even Obasanjo administration have not been able to do.
This is good news because over the weekend while returning from the Vice President father's burial I passed through one of the gas flaring site and it was unbelievable. I have never seen one before so I naturally thought there was fire outbreak in the area but the calmness with which those around the area walked told me it was a normal phenomenon.
Our prayers is that the president will stick to this excellent decision and allow full penalties be paid bydefaulters. (As a matter of fact, penalties should bereviewed upwards in line with current gas prices). According to one of my colleagues