Pan Ocean leads war against gas flaring in Nigeria

DELTA–FOLLOWING reports that Nigeria still flares over a billion scf of gas and the federal government’s intention to end gas flare by year-end 2011, Pan Ocean oil corporation has commenced a campaign against gas flaring by processing gas from its gas processing plant in Delta state, south-south Nigeria.

Rather than flare the gas emanating from its operation, the company processes its gas in compliance with the carbon credit scheme of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), for which the company was qualified  in February 2009.

Hence, the Ovade-Ogharefe, Gas processing plant in Delta state earns carbon credits for its operations under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol where its operations registered was established.

With the CDM, reductions in greenhouse gas emission from projects in developing countries are registered and monitored under the United Nations Frame work Convention on Climate change (UNFCC) and sold to developed countries that have limits for their emissions. Construction of the Ovade-Ogharefe gas plant started in 2007.

The gas plant is currently the largest carbon emission reduction project in West Africa. The Ovade-Ogharefe gas processing plant comprises of two phases, Phase one is a 130-mmscfd gas compression plant and phase two of the gas processing plant will produce Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), propane and other related gas products.

The gas processing plant among other things will ensure zero routine flaring in all areas of its operation due to the adopted modularized plant concept which makes the plant expandable for additional gas finds in her concession areas.

It will be recalled that Pan Ocean is an indigenous company in joint venture with the NNPC and it started production in 1976, at the Ogharefe field of OML 98. Pan Ocean has been in Joint Venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in respect of OML 98. In 2009, Pan Ocean signed a production Sharing Contract (PSC) with the NNPC on Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 275.

Alexander Forsyth, Gas Processing Manager at the plant, explained that the plant “ have three strings of compressors, the LP compressor, the IP seal gas. The gas from LP, is compressed to IP, IP is compressed to HP. So we dry our gas and we make sure we meet the specification required by the Nigerian government. And here we don’t only dry the gas to meet specification we make sure we don’t flare our gas.

We make sure we get our recovery up to 98-99 per cent.  The compressor will recompress the dry gas and send it for export. Our export basically for now is for independent power plant projects. We are very friendly to the environment; you can see the flare is very small. The plant availability has been so good; we have about 98 per cent. The plant has been very stable and available. The quantity of gas processed, the quantity used as fuel gas to run the engine, to run the compressors, for the liquid we have hydro carbon reducer unit where the dry gas will knock down heavy hydro carbons like pentene.

The liquid as it is recovered is calculated and sent back to lighten up our crude at the flow station. So this is calculated by how much percentage of liquid is recovered and how much gas is being taken in as inlet. “How much did you send in as sales gas, how much did you utilize for running your equipment. So far we have 98-99 per cent. We only have one per cent flare and it is so low less than the requirement for the environment”.

Explaining further, he said: “ when we process the gas so we reduce the amount of carbon that is going into the atmosphere. And basically we reduce the carbon emissions. So we measure the carbon going in we measure the carbon going out, and we sell the reductions.

We are selling the gas and we get the credit for the carbon emissions. And it is not cheap to run a gas plant so the profit we get when we sell helps us in running the plant. We measure every cubic of gas going out.

We must measure all the condensate that goes out. The United Nations comes here to audit our figures just to make sure we are doing the right thing.

The figures needs to be correct. Once the UN audits the gas figures we get the figures from the UN saying okay this is how much carbon credit we are awarding you for what you have done.

Then we will know the quantity of carbon credit that will be sold, then when we sale the carbon credit, we will get money and that is how we run the plant”.

Asked what he feels about the refusal of some oil companies to stop gas flaring in the country, Forsyth asserted that “ For me, if I was the Nigerian government I will make oil companies pay seriously for the gas they flare. Every company here should try and do what we are doing by putting the gas in a pipeline and use it for something good.

Currently a contract has been awarded for the next phase of this plant. The next phase will be a small plant and some additional compressors to pump the gas for sales. The plant is capable of pumping 200million cubic of gas per day. NNPC assisted us immensely when we started building the plant and we owe our success today to them”.

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