The Institute of Oil and Gas Research and Hydrocarbon Studies (IOGRHS) yesterday said the 2020 deadline to end gas flaring recently projected by the Federal government was not realisable.

Chairman, IOGRHS Council Prof. Akin Akindoyeni stated this during an interview with reporters at the Oil and Gas Production Forum held in Lagos.

Akindoyeni said nothing has been done since the inception of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) authorities to make the 2020 deadline a reality.

He said: “When you set goals, you have to be sure the goals are realisable. We have asked the same question on the feasibility of the 2020 deadline to end gas flaring.

“But so far, we have not seen much progress. No action has been taken to make that deadline realisable.”

Akindoyeni also spoke on the importance of the Petroleum Industry Bill and the need to encourage local refining of crude oil so as to sustain industries that utilise its bi-products.

According to him, Nigeria gains nothing by the continuous exportation of crude oil meant for local consumption, noting that it has led to the importation of products such disinfectants, fertilisers and plastics, all bi-products of crude oil.

“As an institute, there are other research areas we have looked into. It is on the influence of exploitation of crude oil on the environment, for instance, to what extent has it increased employment for the young people? To what extent has it enhanced their economic development? We found out that it has not.

“If you go to the riverine in Ondo or Bayelsa State, you will find out that these areas have been so polluted that some villages have been vacated. For us, it is not just about cleaning up the oil spill. We want to know if these people can return to their normal means of livelihood after the clean-up. Would they be able to farm on the affected lands? Can they get fish from the water?

“It is a research that will cost hundreds of millions in naira. Any organisation that is ready to back this research project is welcome,” he said.

The Nation reports that the event featured presentation of papers, exhibition as well as awards to industry players who have distinguished themselves in the sector.

Among those honoured was the Chairman, Sea Horse Industries Limited, Ebuka Onunkwo, for locally producing lubricants with high quality.

Dedicating the award to members of his staff, Onunkwo said their target was to be the best in Africa, adding that they currently produce 24 million litres per year.

He said: “We have our mega plant in Nigeria and it is not just that we produce the best quality. We have also provided jobs for youths and have ensured that our quality surpasses those that are being imported. That was why the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) publicly endorsed our product and commended us.

“This award for us is inspiration to do more. We have the mega plant in Nigeria, we have experts working for us. If everyone can respect the standard set by SON, Nigeria will be free of recycled old oil. SON is doing a marvelous job in sanitising the industry.”

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