According to figures compiled by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), at the moment the Ogoniland oilfield is the world's biggest single cause of global warming. The gas which is found with the oil is flared instead of being piped away and used. This flaring emits thirty four million tons of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, a year and the oilfield emits a further twelve million tons of methane, which is up to thirty five times more potent. In comparison, fuel burning in Britain's homes emits twenty three million tons of carbon dioxide and forty six thousand tons of methane a year.
To try and cut down on damage caused by gas flaring, and also to utilise the resource, Shell is involved in building a new gas plant. At present about 75% of the gas brought up with the oil is burnt off, which compares with 20% in Libya, Iran and Saudi Arabia and 4.3% in Britain.