The recently released 2022 Annual Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC) Report on Management and Use of Petroleum Revenue has revealed that Ghana’s upstream petroleum sector lost a total of 25.3 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas, worth about $169 million, through flaring. This represents an increase of 19.3% compared to the volume of gas flared in 2021. About 10% of the total 253.56 bcf of both Associated Gas (AG) and Non-Associated Gas (NAG) produced from the Jubilee, Sankofa Gye-Nyame (SGN), and Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) oil fields was flared.
The African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has highlighted that Ghana has lost about 47 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas, valued at $300 million, to flaring between 2019 and 2021. The Civil Society Organization (CSO) has observed that the gas was flared at a time when domestic consumption of processed gas, known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), was growing exponentially, leading to increased imports.
Gas flaring is not only an economic loss, but it also has a negative environmental impact and is a contributor to global warming. The burning of natural gas associated with oil extraction is a waste of a valuable natural resource that could either be used for productive purposes, such as generating power, or conserved.
The PIAC report noted that the flaring of gas keeps occurring due to inadequate investment and lack of facilities to store and utilize the commodity. For the most part, the SGN Field, relatively gas-concentrated, produced the highest volume of combined AG and NAG of 129.39 BCF while the Jubilee and TEN Fields produced 68.48 bcf and 55.68 bcf, respectively.
While gas production from the SGN field recorded an increase of 6.4% from 121.6 bcf in 2021 to 129.39 bcf in 2022, gas production decreased by 2.9% in the Jubilee fields from 70.53 bcf in 2021 to 68.48 bcf in 2022. Gas production on the TEN Field declined by 13.2% from 64.13 bcf in 2021 to 55.68 bcf in 2022.
In conclusion, gas flaring in Ghana is a growing economic and environmental concern that requires urgent attention from stakeholders. Ghana needs to make adequate investments in gas utilization infrastructure and adopt sustainable practices to reduce flaring and conserve its valuable natural resource.