The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACE, has raised red flags on government’s “no objection” decision to allow the jubilee partners to flare gas until October when the Atuabo gas infrastructure facility is completed.
The decision, the centre says, exposes Ghana to significant environmental and health effects. “Gas flaring is associated with significant environmental and health effects’: the centre stated.
ACEP has strongly condemned government’s decision to allow the flaring of gas. 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” Senior Energy Policy Manager for ACED said.
In a document signed by Nasir Alfa Mohammed, Senior Energy Policy Manager for Executive Director, the centre cited various environmental and human related dangers that gas flaring could create for Ghana and the rest of the world.
The document 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. The primary causes of acid rain are emissions of sulphur dioxide (S02) and nitrogen oxides (NO) which combine with atmospheric moisture to form sulphuric acid and nitric acid respectively. 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. Science has proven that atmospheric contaminants resulting from gas flaring, such as oxides of Nitrogen, Carbon and Sulphur (NO’, CO2, CO, S02), hydrocarbons and ash, photochemical oxidants, and hydrogen sulphide (H2S) could acidify the soil and deplete soil nutrient, hence reducing the nutritional value of crops within such vicinity. 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 ‘.angers 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.
The centre has, as a result, called 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.
In its recent report on gas development in Ghana, the ACEP 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: Business Day