APPO vows to end gas flaring, reduce methane emissions in Africa’s oil and gas industry


By Kizito CUDJOE

The African Petroleum Producers’ Organization (APPO) has wrapped up its roundtable on gas flaring and fugitive methane emissions, with industry stakeholders pledging to combat environmental challenges through joint initiatives, stringent policies, and innovative technologies.

The two-day event, held in Accra, was co-organized by the Petroleum Commission and brought together delegates and experts from various sectors, including hydrocarbons ministries, national oil companies, industry regulators, and academia.

Under the theme “Towards Zero Routine Gas Flaring and Lower Methane Emissions in APPO Member Countries’ Oil and Gas Operations,” the roundtable aimed to deepen dialogue among APPO member countries and industry stakeholders.

The discussions centered on the latest developments and strategies to minimize routine gas flaring and methane emissions, practices that significantly contribute to climate change and economic losses due to wasted resources.

After the roundtable, APPO issued a 11-point Communique, on behalf of the participants, reaffirming the commitment to tackling the challenges of gas flaring and fugitive methane emissions

The key outcomes and strategic commitment from the roundtable are as follows:

Environmental and Economic Impacts:

Delegates acknowledged the significant environmental damage and economic losses due to routine gas flaring and methane emissions. They emphasized the necessity for improved environmental practices to align with APPO’s strategic objectives and the potential for optimizing resource use.

Commitment to Reduction Efforts:

Participants committed to adopting stricter regulations, best practices, preventive maintenance, and investing in technologies to capture and utilize associated gas. They agreed on a zero-tolerance policy for gas flaring in new projects and mandated facilities for utilizing produced gas in ongoing operations.

Energy Accessibility:

The roundtable underscored the importance of utilizing all available natural gas resources to enhance energy availability and accessibility on the continent, thereby supporting economic growth and development.

Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing:

Emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts, participants advocated for workshops, training programs, joint projects, and the development of common strategies to address gas flaring and methane emissions effectively.

Policy and Regulatory Frameworks:

The necessity for robust policy and regulatory frameworks was highlighted, with commitments to review, monitor, and enforce policies aligned with global best practices.

Research and Development:

Participants recommended strengthening ties between industry, regulators, and academia to support research initiatives focused on innovative solutions for reducing emissions, ensuring academic curricula remain relevant to industry needs.

Monitoring and Reporting Progress:

APPO members recognized that establishing robust monitoring and reporting mechanisms was deemed crucial. This includes setting measurable targets, regular reporting, and third-party verification to track progress in emission reduction efforts.

Infrastructure Investment:

The delegates also agreed on the critical role of host governments in developing infrastructure to utilize associated gas effectively, thereby minimizing flaring and maximizing economic benefits.

Public Awareness and Stakeholder Engagement:

The importance of raising public awareness and engaging stakeholders, including local communities and NGOs, was recognized as vital for transparent communication and inclusive dialogue.

Shared Responsibility:

The roundtable concluded that both governments and oil and gas companies share the primary responsibility for investing in emission-reducing technologies. A combination of performance-based and prescriptive regulations was recommended to enforce compliance with emission targets

Establishment of Regional Centers of Excellence:

The APPO Member Countries (MCs) agreed to establish Regional Centers of Excellence as part of APPO efforts to boost R&D and develop the regional oil and gas industry on the back of indigenous knowledge and innovation.

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