North Dakota Law

Updates from the University of North Dakota School of Law.

Professor Tade Oyewunmi published in the “Palgrave Handbook of Natural Gas and Global Energy Transitions”

Regulating Gas Flaring Emissions from Upstream Operations on US Federal Lands and in Nigeria

by Tade Oyewunmi


This chapter examines the framework for regulating gas production operations, flaring, and fugitive emissions on US Federal Government lands (on the one hand) and in Nigeria (on the other hand). Natural gas plays a key role in meeting global energy demand, mostly due to an established framework of property rights, contracts, and network of supply infrastructure that underpins its reliability and security of supply. Also, technological innovations have made gas systems more efficient, while the growing trend of switching from carbon-intensive coal and heavy oil to gas has been instrumental in reducing energy-related emissions. The chapter highlights the emerging approaches for regulating methane and CO2 emissions from gas supply operations and systems. It discusses how government ownership and property rights in oil and gas resources under the domanial system in countries like Nigeria are similar to the ownership interests held in such mineral resources from public lands in the US. The chapter highlights the respective approaches to regulating flaring and fugitive emissions. Developing commercially viable gas utilization options and market access in order to curtail avoidable gas flaring are essential. Regulatory institutions are also required to develop rules targeted at the major sources of leaks and fugitive emissions from upstream and supply systems. Some identified regulatory approaches include setting performance-based standards, requiring technology-based solutions, and incorporating best practices to eliminate or curtail flaring by relevant operators at an organizational and project development level.

Preview the handbook here