Shell chief executive Peter Voser has said the oil giant is looking at a potential $4.0 billion in new projects in Nigeria to boost production and reduce the amount of gas burned off into the atmosphere.
In a speech he gave in London, wednesday and posted on the Shell website Voser said, “Shell is assessing new projects for onshore Nigeria, which will add new production and reduce flaring, and these projects could cost some $4.0 billion”
Flaring refers to the environmentally damaging practice of burning off natural gas during oil production.
The Nigerian government has been pushing to use more of its natural gas for new gas-fired power plants as part of plans to improve electricity supply, with blackouts currently occurring daily across Africa’s most populous nation.
The country, the continent’s largest oil producer, also wants to boost its exports of liquefied natural gas.
According to Voser Shell hopes to complete the projects within the 2014 to 2015 timeframe subject to approval by partners and the security situation in the Niger Delta.
The CEO said Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Shell’s affiliate in Nigeria, flared some 20 percent less gas last year than 2010.
SPDC’s production increased to 800,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2011 compared with 460,000 in 2009, when militant attacks in the Niger Delta region sharply reduced output.
A 2009 amnesty has led to a major decline in unrest there, though sporadic incidents continue to occur.
Oil theft in the Niger Delta has however been a growing problem. Voser said there have been estimates that 150,000 barrels per day of oil and condensate (worth some $7 billion at current prices) is stolen in Nigeria.