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PIPE DREAMS (4):No Carbon Credit for the West African Gas Pipeline (2)
Monday, 03 October 2005

Today we present the key requirements for benefiting from the Carbon Development Mechanism (CDM)-one of the instruments of the Kyoto Protocol. Chevron and other sponsors of the West African Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP) have been scheming to make extra profit from the pipeline project saying it will help in reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) and as such qualifies it for “Carbon Credit”. From all the parameters that will be examined below, WAGP is not eligible for carbon credit.

Additionality of emission reductions: CDM projects must be able to reasonably demonstrate that the emission reductions from the project are additional to what would have happened in the absence of the project.

WAGP Reality:
Flaring is already prohibited in Nigeria and companies like Chevron and Shell have been paying a penalty for non-compliance. The Nigerian government has, again, set a target of 2008 for all oil companies to stop gas flaring. So a WAGP cannot be said to provide any additionality ( even assuming there was a plan for 100% use of flared associated gas for the WAGP) since they are already obligated to end gas flaring.

Moreover, gas is a fossil fuel. The use of gas releases 75% of the CO2 emissions of oil. Therefore, gas is not a clean source of energy, though it is minimally better than crude oil. The WAGP project keeps countries dependent on fossil fuels instead of initiating a shift to renewable energy sources.

Promotes sustainable development.

WAGP Reality:
As oil and gas exploitation by Chevron and Shell in Nigeria clearly shows, oil and gas production rarely contributes to economic development in developing countries. Forty Years of oil and gas development in Nigeria have resulted in mass impoverishment. Economists have pointed out that economies of developing countries with abundant natural resources have tended to grow less rapidly than natural-resource-scarce economies. Dependence on rent from oil and gas leads to the abandonment of other sectors of the economy like agriculture and manufacturing that contribute more to GDP.

In Nigeria, oil and gas infrastructure developments including the building of pipelines and flow lines have resulted in severe environmental degradation, loss of community livelihoods and abuse of human rights. We must point out that gas for the WAGP will be sourced from Escravos in the Western Niger Delta, an area noted for violent conflicts arising from competition for control of land and resources between communities, the Nigerian government and the oil and gas companies. Without an attempt to resolve these issues, there is fear that WAGP will exacerbate the crisis in the area, which will lead to further disruptions in gas supply, while worsening the insecurity and impoverishment in the area.

Measurable results: Projected emission reductions over the life of the project should be predictable and emission reductions should also be amenable to validation and verification.

WAGP Reality:
As Chris Miller confirmed, projections on GHG emissions reduction from the WAGP are theoretical, with the sponsors unable to say, in concrete terms, the amount of currently flared associated gas from Chevron and Shell oil fields in the Niger Delta that will be used for the WAGP, which will be connected to an existing Escravos-Lagos Gas Pipeline built to transport unflared non-associated gas.

The Bermuda registered WAGP is only a transporter of gas and the operating company has argued variously that it actually has no responsibility for oil and gas gathering or flares reduction programmes in the oil fields of the Western Niger Delta.

Environmental impact assessments: CDM projects will need to satisfy national laws and regulations requiring environmental and social impact assesment prior to project implementation. The project monitoring and verification system will need to produce necessary data to assess ongoing environmental/social impacts during the lifetime of the project.

WAGP Reality:
The Environmental Impact Assessment for the WAGP was inadequate in process and content, as it does not evaluate potential impacts related to upstream activities (such as gas collection) or the Escravos-Lagos portion of the pipeline system. The environmental and social dimensions of upstream portions of the project (in the Niger Delta) and potential future/related activities are given insufficient attention in the EIA.

Community members could not participate in the EIA processes as there was inadequate prior consultation. Members of the affected communities in the Badagry area of Lagos State have expressed serious reservations and are challenging the project in the Federal High Court. The draft EIA was also not made available to community people. For example, copies of the draft EIA supposed to be on public display at the Lagos State Ministry of Environment were hidden in the office of the Permanent Secretary, away from the reach of community people, contrary to the mandatory provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act No 86 of 1992.

Stakeholder comments: Project participants are required to invite and consider comments from local stakeholders on proposed CDM projects, in the course of finalizing the project design.

WAGP Reality:
To date, public consultations and information dissemination about WAGP has been inadequate. At the community level WAPco’s contact with community members in Lagos State has been restricted mainly to paying pre-determined amounts as compensation to certain landowners while excluding the larger community: A sure recipe for communal conflict

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© 2007 Environmental Rights Action / Friends of the Earth, Nigeria
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