President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) summit in Doha, Qatar, restated Nigeria’s interest in investing more in natural gas despite the tight investment climate.
Although Nigeria has more gas than crude oil, harnessing the resources has been elusive given the investment needed to explore, process or export gas.
With Chinese loans already becoming a mirage as the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline project faces funding challenges, Buhari said the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) was designed to enable Nigeria to derive more value from natural gas.
Represented at the event by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva, Buhari said the required governance, regulatory and fiscal framework to support the growth of the industry are already guaranteed in the country.
“Nigeria is embarking on different initiatives, projects, and policies to enhance the performance of the oil and gas sector,” he noted.
He listed some of the gas initiatives Nigeria is currently embarking upon to include the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), designed to provide framework and policy support to extend gas supply and utilisation in power generation, gas-based industries, and in emerging niche gas sectors such as gas in transportation LPG for cooking and remote virtual gas supply using trucks to convey LNG and CNG to industries.
The other initiatives according to the president in a release signed by the Senior Adviser (Media & Communications) to Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Horatius Egua, include the Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kano gas pipeline to support five billion cubic feet per day of domestic gas utilization in the near term and 5-Gigawatt power generation.
Others are the expansion of the current LNG production capacity to about 30 million tonnes per annum at Bonny with the on-going N-LNG Train 7 project and the declaration of 2021-2030 as the Decade of Gas towards a gas-powered economy, that would not only lower Nigeria’s GHG emissions but also reduce the country’s import bills.
Buhari stated further that with natural gas projected to be the leading fossil fuel in the energy transition, “the GECF, given its member countries vast natural gas resources and experience in the oil and gas industry, is well positioned to provide stewardship and credible platform to promote natural gas as a sustainable fuel for an effective energy transition.
“We therefore need to continue to assess the gas and energy market dynamics both in the short, medium, and long-term timeframe with the aim of taking market opportunities and collectively address the challenges.”
He noted that there was a need for the countries to work together as policy makers, investors, decision makers, researchers, and technology developers to make modern energy sources such as natural gas available and affordable to all.
While restating Nigeria’s commitment to Conference of Parties (COP26) Glasgow declaration towards zero carbon emissions, the president however noted the importance of natural gas for effective energy transition towards a low carbon future and as a fuel for socio-economic development, taking into consideration its credentials such as abundant, flexible, cleanest fossil fuel, and its versatility.