Nigeria has begun the process that would allow for the oil-rich nation to award contracts for its flared gas by the end of December.
According to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, the new plan is under an accelerated programme to harness gas released as a byproduct of oil production.
President Muhammadu Buhari first launched the programme in 2016 to auction rights to capture and sell flared gas. Four years later, the government approved 200 bidders, but the process was stalled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
On Sunday, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission chief executive Gbenga Komolafe said the auction was being restarted and would be open to both old and new bidders.
“The auction process has been streamlined to enable an accelerated delivery schedule for this exercise with the announcement of winners planned for December 2022,” Komolafe said in a statement.
The government has said flaring costs it roughly $ 1 billion a year in lost revenue. The gas can be used in power plants, in industry or exported.
Last month, Petroleum Minister Timipre Sylva said Nigeria’s plan to commercialize gas burned from its oilfields was at an advanced stage and would help cut 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions from the atmosphere.
Nigeria, which has Africa’s largest gas reserves of more than 190 trillion cubic feet, first targeted gas flaring in the late 1970s and, through various schemes and regulations, has more than halved it since 2001.