Buhari unlocks gas potentials to industrialize economy

March 29, 2021
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*PIB Will Accelerate Gas Market Growth As NASS Commits To Passage April -Sylva

ABUJA President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday kick started the drive towards industrialization of Nigeria’s economy with the official launch of “The Decade of Gas in Nigeria” to allow full utilization of Nigeria’s proven 203TCF and potential 600TCF gas reserves.

Setting the tone for the development of the industry in the next ten years, President Buhari said given the country’s potential of about 600 trillion cubic feet of gas, the commodity has the enormous potential to diversify Nigeria’s economy.

‘‘The rising global demand for cleaner energy sources has offered Nigeria an opportunity to exploit gas resources for the good of the country. We intend to seize this opportunity,’’ the President said at the virtual Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) 2021 Pre-Summit Conference and official launch of the Decade of Gas.

The President told participants at the Pre-Summit that while his administration has prioritized gas development and recorded remarkable progress, it is well known that Nigeria is a gas nation with a little oil, but the country has focused on oil over the years.

‘‘That is the paradox that this Administration decided to confront when we declared the year 2020 as “The Year of Gas” in Nigeria.

‘‘It was a bold statement to demonstrate the resolve of this Administration that gas development and utilization should be a national priority to stimulate economic growth, further improve Nigeria’s energy mix, drive investments, and provide the much-needed jobs for our citizens in the country.

‘‘Before the declaration of Year 2020 as The Year of Gas, this Administration had shown commitment to the development of Nigeria’s vast gas resources and strengthening of the gas value chain by reviewing and gazetting policies and regulations to enhance operations in the sector as encapsulated in the National Gas Policy of 2017.

‘‘Our major objective for the gas sector is to transform Nigeria into an industrialized nation with gas playing a major role and we demonstrated this through enhanced accelerated gas revolution,’’ he said.

Enumerating what his administration has done to energise the sector, the President said the development of gas infrastructure has commenced along with the domestic utilization of LPG and CNG, as well as the process of commercializing gas flares, development of industrial and transport gas markets, and increasing gas to power.

‘‘We also kick started other policies and projects like the National Gas Expansion Programme, Autogas policy and the construction of the 614km Ajaokuta-KadunaKano gas pipeline.

‘‘After a thorough review of these laudable achievements and successes in the gas space, we acknowledge that Nigeria still has more work to do in the gas space.

‘‘This has led the Federal Government to begin a more proactive push towards gas development. This initiative will ensure further optimal exploitation and utilization of the country’s vast gas resources.

The President commended the collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Nigeria LNG Limited to actualize the dream of transforming Nigeria with its massive gas resources.”

He described the NLNG as the Federal Government’s arrowhead in the reduction of gas flaring in Nigeria.

According to the President, NLNG, which contributes about one percent to GDP, has generated $114 billion in revenues over the years, $9 billion in taxes, $18 billion in dividends to the Federal Government and $15 billion in Feed gas Purchase.

The President noted that these achievements were accomplished with 100 percent Nigerian Management and 95 percent Nigerian workforce.

He also applauded NLNG for winning the award for outstanding business strategy, in 2020, for going ahead with Train 7 during the global pandemic.

‘‘The Ministry of Petroleum Resources and NNPC are in various regards setting the pace.

‘‘I would like to charge all other relevant MDAs on the need to partner with the international oil companies, the indigenous oil companies and financial institutions to actualize the dream of fully utilizing our gas resources to uplift our economy,’’ he said.

President Buhari affirmed that later this year, Nigeria will host the 4th International Petroleum Summit in Abuja.

He invited delegates at the NIPS Pre-Summit to attend the flagship event of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources that ‘‘will once more allow us to engage our partners and friends from around the world, exchange ideas and policy options and set the tone for the industry in the next few years.’’

Also, Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister Of State For Petroleum Resources, said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will unlock market potentials for Nigeria’s 203 billion tcf of gas reserves, assuring that National Assembly has shown commitment to pass the 13 years old bill into law in April 2021.

At Decade of Gas Conference, with the theme: ‘Toward a gas powered economy by 2030’ Sylva said PIB is the solution to the unending blame game that have surrounded the development of gas in Nigeria.

He said Nigeria went in the wrong direction in oil business since 1950s as a country, but expressed optimism that lasting solution is in sight with the PIB coming on board soon.

“As a country, we went in the wrong direction in oil business since 1950s. But it is not too late, from what has been said, you know, as usual, we try to trade blames, who was responsible, some would say it was from government side, that the investors decided to focus on oil and where they found gas they shut it in and decided to focus on oil. So gas sector was not explored adequately. And then from investors side they will say the fiscal framework was not there to enable them recoup their investment in gas sector. From today, I will say that the solution to all these is in sight. The solution is PIB. The PIB we have been told by the National Assembly and they have shown commitment that the PIB will be passed in April. And when the PIB is passed those blame game will end” he said.

Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in remark, noted that Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has committed huge resources to ensure that domestic gas infrastructure reach every corner of the country, to deepen Natural gas utilization, spur investment in power and gas-based industries, grow the economy and generate employment for millions of young people.

“Our effort at monetizing the huge gas resources has been modest but clearly spurred to higher level by numerous policy and industry interventions since 2016 culminating in the declaration of year 2020 as year of gas and now progressing with the decade of gas from year 2021” he added.

Kyari stated that several strategic projects had been delivered by NNPC and her partners to deepen delivery of gas into the domestic market and elevate the build-up of greater potentials for export.

“The completion of the ELPS II, commission of the OB3 lot 2, the NPDC Oredo gas handling facility, the SEEPCO gas processing plant can be easily cited even without the mention of the ongoing strategic backbone infrastructure delivery projects as the AKK pipeline, the OB3 final hook-up, the Nigeria-Morroco pipeline and several other gas-based industries initiatives. All this will herald the sunset of gas revolution in our country within the decade, he said.

“May I crave your indulgences to mention that as part of Nigeria’s journey to making the DECADE OF GAS a reality, the Nigerian Government has also rolled out Autogas initiative to provide alternative cleaner and cheaper source of transportation fuel. This has achieved tremendous traction and supported hugely by the entire energy industry”.

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