Gas flaring in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria is a critical issue and several futile attempts over the years to phase out the ugly practice propagates no imminent solution to the problem. Owing to this fact, there is a need to sort an alternative measure in the interim to halt the practice pending when the issue will be properly addressed and considering the challenges that hinder gas flare abatement using current available methods in the region. The proposed solution in this work entails converting flared gas to solid natural gas hydrate (NGH) at flare sites, store and transport the solid mass to its final destination where re-gasification will take place by heating to recover the trapped gas. The water produced during re-gasification from the solid mass will be sent back to the hydrate plant for re-use. Three benefits of this proposal include saving the environment from pollution, monetizing flared gas and job creation for the masses. However, the major challenges that will face the proposal are easy access routes to flare sites, insecurity at flare stations as sites for gas hydrate plants due to their remoteness and the need for further research to enhance and tailor the available NGH technology to suit the flared gas composition of the Niger Delta.

The process involved in making NGH mainly requires natural gas, water, low temperature (2 to 10°C), high pressure (50 to 120bars) and catalysts (such as Sodium dodecyle sulphate) for increase in rate of formation and stability. The formed hydrates can be preserved at atmospheric pressure under a temperature range of −10°C to −40°C for about two weeks or more. Reported economic analysis shows that transporting natural gas in form of hydrate especially when the volume of gas involved is relatively small from many scattered locations separated by long distances like in the Niger delta case is cheaper than transporting the same volume of gas as LNG. Several challenges that have hindered gas flaring abatement in the Niger Delta will be resolved by this proposed solution.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.