The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has said the Federal Government is strategising to ensure an efficient oil and gas sector in the post-COVID-19 era, declaring 2021 to 2030, the decade of gas in Nigeria.
According to him, FG’s strategy to strengthen the Nigerian oil and gas industry in a post-COVID-19 world is to transform the national oil company into a diversified energy holding company.
“This will enable us to respond swiftly to the twin challenges of a future crash in crude oil prices and decarbonisation, by moving rapidly to becoming an energy holding company with more diverse interests.
“Consequently, we have strategically focused on our vast natural gas resources, as a critical transition fuel to help battle global warming and function as a bridge between the dominant fossil fuel of today and the renewable energy of tomorrow.
“Natural gas has the intrinsic ability to meet the increasing global requirement for cleaner primary energy use, while at the same time, enabling much needed domestic industrialisation for rapid economic growth in very few endowed countries, such as Nigeria,” he said.
Sylva noted that substituting traditional white products with gas would cushion the effect of the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector and stimulate economic growth. He added that it would further improve Nigeria’s energy mix; drive investments and create enormous job opportunities for Nigerians.
According to the stakeholders in the gas industry, global developments have presented an opportunity for the government to reappraise its gas agenda, with a view to increasing its reserves and domestic utilisation, especially for power generation and transportation.
Given the scepticism around oil rebound, they urged that regulations and strategic frameworks be developed to encourage players in the sector. Managing Director, NLNG, Tony Attah, said the firm would increase its allocation of LPG to the domestic market from 350,000 metric tonnes (MT) to450,000MT by 2021.
He said the move is aimed at supporting the Federal Government’s plan to deepen LPG (cooking gas) penetration in Nigeria. He said: “We have helped to reduce flaring by over 65%, and moved Nigerian from the second position to the seventh having created the avenue to monetise gas. “This has also helped us to bring major earnings to the economy.
We can become the fourth largest reserve of gas if we exploit and develop the over 600trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas yet to be explored. “Nigeria is a gas nation but keeps focusing on oil.
More than just agreeing to make 2020 the year of gas, we need to declare the decade for gas.
“With the transition in the global economy and the challenge of peak oil, we will have no choice but to shift focus to gas,” he added.
Decrying the paradox of Nigeria’s status as a gas nation, and underscoring the urgency of addressing local LPG supply deficits in the country, Attah noted that some 100,000 Nigerian women and girls in the rural areas form part of the one million fatal casualties of kitchen fumes yearly.