Halt the plan to flare gas in Ghana

350 GHANA [G-ROC] has followed with keen interest the discussions regarding the proposals submitted by the Jubilee partners led by Tullow Oil to the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum on a list of possible options in dealing with the accumulated gas in the Jubilee field reservoir, which include flaring, reducing oil production among others and wish to state our positions on the matter.

We are fully aware that Ghana is currently in dire need of huge quantity of gas supply for her thermal power plants to be able to provide uninterrupted power generation enough for industries to thrive as well as for the consumption of commercial and domestic purposes. Nonetheless, there is ample evidence to the fact that gas flaring is associated with rising atmospheric contaminants like oxides of Nitrogen, Carbon and Sulphur which acidify the soil, hence depleting soil nutrients and eventually lose its soil fertility.

This hazardous air pollutant emitted during incomplete combustion of gas flares causes adverse health impacts including cancer, neurological, reproductive and developmental effects. Deformities in children, lung damage and skin problems have also been reported. Acid rains have been linked to the activities of gas flaring and this acidifies lakes and streams and damages vegetation. Again, flaring contributes immensely to climate change by emission of carbon dioxide – the main greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

Already, there had been visible evidence of climate change in the country and that include rising temperatures in all ecological zones, rapid change in rainfall patterns, loss of soil fertility, loss of biodiversity, drastic decline in none timber forest, drying up of major streams and rivers among other things which is having adverse impact on livelihood, health, and nutrition.

In view of the above reasons and given the fact that the Atuabo gas processing plant is near completion, we recommend that government strictly adheres to its zero tolerance to gas flaring policy and allow the Jubilee partners to reduce oil production rather than resorting to flaring since it will pose serious threat to the environment and the health of the people as seen in Nigeria, Russia and other oil producing countries.

Ghana has survived for decades without oil and so interim reduction in production as a measure in dealing with the present situation and also for the safety of the citizenry and of the environment can not in any way be overlooked. For the sake of our health and environment; for the sake of our future as young people we demand that the intended gas flaring plans must be aborted.


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