“This is about a flare associated with testing of a well for which SPDC has the necessary permits from the Department of Petroleum Resources,” said Tony Attah, Vice President Corporate Affairs for Shell Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Well test flares are common and accepted practice globally. In this case the flare will only exist for about a week. The gas well was drilled early last year, and we engaged the communities on the extent and duration of flares associated with drilling and tests.”

He said that, as the brief flare is within the regulated limits, it is not true to suggest that the flame is emitting toxic fumes and damaging the environment.

SPDC has continued to make progress on efforts to reduce routine gas flares in its operational areas. By mid January this year, the company had implemented associated gas gathering projects at 36 facilities in different parts of the Niger Delta. The plan is to extend coverage to more than 90% of the associated gas produced in SPDC operations. The entire programme will cost around six billion dollars.

SPDC is working to find alternative solutions for the remaining facilities, and partnering with the government and the World Bank to identify suitable Nigerian investors that would collect associated gas from flare sites for small scale local projects.

2011 - Shell in Nigeria – working in a complex environment