PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said that rising global demand for cleaner energy sources has offered Nigeria an opportunity to exploit gas resources for the country’s good.
Buhari, who said this on Monday in Abuja at the official launch of ‘The decade of gas in Nigeria,’ explained that his administration had decided to confront the paradox of over-reliance on oil by declaring 2020 as a year of gas.
“Global developments have indeed presented us an opportunity. Gas will become the dominant fuel for generating power across the world and in Africa. The question now is: can we rise to the challenge?”
The president emphasised that the current administration’s major objective was to transform Nigeria into an industrialised nation with gas, stressing that his government was committed to deepening gas value chain by reviewing and gazetting policies and regulations to enhance operations in the sector as contained in National Gas Policy 2017.
“Remarkable progress has been made to achieve this target through developing gas infrastructure, promoting domestic utilisation of LPG and CNG, commencing the process of commercialising gas flares, development of industrial transport gas markets and increasing gas to power.”
The president noted that the federal government had kickstarted other policies and projects, including the National Gas Expansion Programme, Autogas Policy and the contraction of the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline.
He pointed out that Nigeria had enormous potential to diversify and uplift the economy, emphasising that its potential of about 600 trillion cubic feet of gas put it on the path to drive the economy through gas.
President Buhari further called for the collaboration of stakeholders in actualising government’s push for a gas-driven economy.
The president also noted that the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) had been the government’s arrowhead in reducing gas flaring in Nigeria, stressing that it had contributed $114 billion in revenues over the years.
“Nine billion dollars in taxes,$18bn in dividends to the federal government,$15 billion in feed gas purchase and all were achieved with 100 percent Nigerian management and 95 percent Nigerian workforce,” he noted.
Minister of state for petroleum resources Timipre Sylva said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would unlock market potential for Nigeria’s 203 billion tcf of gas reserves, assuring that the National Assembly had shown commitment passing the 13-year-old bill into law in April 2021.
Sylva, at the event, said the PIB was solution to the unending blame game that had surrounded the development of gas in Nigeria.
He said Nigeria had gone in the wrong direction in the oil business since the 1950s as a country but expressed optimism that a lasting solution was in sight with the PIB coming on board soon.
“As a country, we went in the wrong direction in oil business since the 1950s. But it is not too late. From what has been said, you know, as usual, we try to trade blames. 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. From the investors’ side, they will say the fiscal framework was not there to recoup their investment in the gas sector. From today, I will say that the solution to all these is in sight. The solution is PIB. The National Assembly has told us, and they have shown commitment that the PIB will be passed in April. And when the PIB is passed, those blame games will end,” he said.