U.S. oil giant Mobil to reduce gasflaring by 10 percent

With the increasing deregulation of Nigeria's economy, many international oil and gas corporation are seeking new opportunities and more effective ways of working the industry. This time, the Nigerian subsidiary of U.S. oil giant, Mobil, is to reduce gas flaring in its areas of operation in the country to 10 percent by 2004. The company says this is in line with its environmental, health and safety policy.

Carol Antaih, an environmentalist with the company, said that gas flaring as a percentage of national total gas produced averaged 40 percent in 1996, but had been reduced to 31 percent in 1998 by the company. He said in a special report on Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited's performance, titled "meeting our commitments", that the company would continue to lead the Nigerian industry in gas utilisation. He added that the company had submitted its 1998 emissions inventory data to the Mobil's headquarters in Fairfax, US, a global study on the impact of emissions on the climate.

In February, 1998, the chief executive officer of Mobil Corporation, Lucio Noto, announced a set of environment, health and safety goals on workplace safety, spills, fires and explosion. In addition to setting these goals, Noto said that Mobil would institute a programme to collect data world-wide on the corporation's emissions, water discharges, waste generation and energy use.

The objectives of the emissions inventory programme, he explained, was to get a better understanding of Mobil's environmental performance world-wide, to set goals for the improvement and to publicly report the data and Mobil's progress in attaining the goals. "The release of various gases, including water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere results in trapping of heat in the atmosphere," he added. This phenomenon is known as "greenhouse effect".

Antaih noted that human activities, such as burning fossil fuels - coal, oil and natural gas - had increased the concentration of the greenhouse gases. He said that the development had led governments to proactively address the issue and Nigeria set up an inter-ministerial committee on climate change. The mandate of the committee, which has a representation from the oil industry and the department of petroleum resources, is to recommend to government Nigeria's position on the ratification of the Kyoto protocol on climate change.
By Goddy Ikeh/PANA/