The Federal Government On Tuesday announced that it had raised the penalty for gas flaring to $2 per 1,000 standard cubic feet (scf) of gas up from the N10 per 1,000 scf earlier imposed as sanction for the offence.

The changes in gas flare penalties were contained in the gazetted ‘Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations 2018,’ released by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

Under the regulatory regime, government stipulated a fine of N50,000 or a six months jail term or both, for anyone who provides inaccurate flare data.

According to the document presented by Mr Justice Derefaka, Program Manager, Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme, NGFCP, Office of the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, for any organisation producing 10,000 barrels of oil or more, the gas flare penalty had been increased to $2 per thousand standard cubic feet of gas.

This is even as the gazetted regulations provide that any entity producing less than 10,000 barrels of oil per day would pay $0.50 per thousand standard cubic square feet of gas, irrespective of whether it is routine or non-routine flaring.

However, the regulations clarify that the producer would not be liable in a situation “where the flaring was caused by an act of war, community disturbance, insurrection, storm, flood, earthquake or other natural phenomena which is beyond the reasonable control of the producer.”

In addition, the regulations state that in a situation where a producer failed to provide flare gas data to a request made under regulation 4 of these regulations or failed to supply accurate or complete flare gas data, such producer would be forced to pay a fine of $2.50 per day, for every 1,000 SCF of gas flared or vented within the oil field or marginal field.

Other penalties stipulated within this category are that where the producer fails to provide a qualified applicant with access to any flare site; fail to provide a permit holder with access to any flare site or to flare gas as provided in the permit; fail to prepare, maintain or submit the logs or records or reports required by the regulation within the time required to do so by the DPR, the penalty of $2.50 per day.

The sanctions applies also to situation whereby the producer fail to instal metering equipment within the time required to do so by the DPR; or fail to agree to enter into a concession agreement with a permit holder.

The regulations stated: “In the event of the continued failure of the producer to comply with any of the requirements of this regulation, the minister may direct the producer to suspend the operations or revoke any Oil Mining Lease or marginal field awarded to the producer.”

It also provides that gas producers should maintain daily log of flaring and venting of natural gas produced in association with crude oil and submit same to the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, within 21 days following the end of each month.

The gazetted document provides further, amongst other compliance requirements, that all gas flare logs must be based on data retrieved from metering equipment installed at the various producers’ facilities, while the logs must be kept by the producers in safe custody for no less than 36 months.