Experts list ways to boost Nigeria’s natural gas production

Some experts have called for a well-articulated and sustainable programme to decentralise the power sector regulatory environment and incentivise investors to boost natural gas production in Nigeria.

They said this at the American Business Council (ABC) Economic Update with theme: ‘Energising Nigeria: Navigating Challenges, Harnessing Opportunities,’ on Thursday in Lagos.

Prof. Barth Nnaji, the Chairman, Geometric Power Ltd., said for almost three decades, the world had been possessed with finding a solution to climate change, having identified fossil fuel as the main culprit to global warming.

Nnaji noted that Nigeria had set a target of 2030 to achieve complete flare-out in its oil industry with various aspirations to pursue renewable energy options.

Nnaji noted that, unfortunately, the non-availability of adequate gas for power and industrial processes would afflict all the initiatives, in spite of the country’s proven natural gas reserves of over 206 trillion cubic feet.

He said that while government
must be commended for exploring overseas markets for Nigeria’s natural gas for its benefit, they should bear in mind that ‘charity begins from home.

‘It is not just local power producers that are currently bleeding owing to insufficient gas.

‘There is no sufficient liquified petroleum gas for our kitchens and people are now resorting to firewood and coal for cooking, thus worsening the environmental crisis,’ he said.

Nnaji, also former Minister of Power, stressed the need for a total overhaul of the transmission arm of power generation, saying that the current national grid is grossly inadequate for 200 million.

‘Nigeria needs over 100,000 MW to meet its energy needs and we currently have just 13,000MW of installed capacity from which we are only able to put less than 5,000 MW on the grid due to reasons primarily of gas and transmission constraints.

‘The Nigerian government at every level should employ already tested approaches to collaborate with competent private sector operators to quickly progress po
wer availability to the level that matches our country’s sustainable economic growth desire,’ he said.

Mrs Margaret Olele, Chief Executive Officer, American Business Council, noted that the theme of the event was a critical conversation on how government and private sector can best move forward to energise the country.

Olele noted that in spite of the economic reforms by the current administration and the implementation of the Petroleum Industrial Act, Nigeria was still unable to meet Organisations of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production quota.

‘Issues of theft, insecurity have impacted the country meeting its OPEC quota and it is important to address this because a major chunk of the country’s revenue is tied to the power, oil and gas sector.

‘The gas we have is still underutilised and power generation issues is impacting manufacturers and everybody in general so we are here to unload and shift your mindsets from the status quo to innovation and progression amidst the challenges,’ she said

Mr Martins Arogie, Partner, Energy and Natural Resources Services, KPMG, said that Nigeria’s energy industry was considered one of the most inefficient in meeting the needs of its customers globally, in spite of the country’s enormous energy resources.

Arogie noted that underutilisation of these resources was rampant and exacerbated by a chronic imbalance in the electricity and petroleum products markets.

This situation, Arogie said, had threatened Nigeria’s energy security, harmed the economy, increased income inequality and energy poverty, weakened industrialisation processes, and the undermine efforts to achieve sustained economic growth.

‘In a market where demand far outstrips the current supply, Nigeria’s energy sector presents attractive investment opportunities within its various subsectors including oil and gas, electricity and renewables.

‘With an abundance of both renewable and non-renewable resources, Nigeria provides immense opportunities for sustainable solutions to address existing energy
demand gap and contribute to government’s drive to improve the efficiency and contribution of the sector.

‘Therefore, it has become imperative for all the stakeholders to collaborate to address the challenges hampering the development of energy sector and unlock the vast opportunities that it holds for the country, Africa and the world,’ he said.

Mrs Eyono Fatayi-Williams, President, Women in Energy Network, noted that Nigeria, blessed with a lot of natural resources, has a 206 trillion feet of proven gas reserves, which means there’s so much that can be done to harness the country’s gas resources.

Fatayi-Williams noted that the country had a lot of room for growth, particularly as gas has been recognised globally as the transition fuel in energy transition.

‘So, gas development is a good thing and gas development will help in closing the huge deficit we have seeing that what Nigeria produces and what it needs are at two different points apart.

‘But I think our message is the government declared a decade
of gas and we are still in that decade and that decade of gas is supposed to be the big ticket, and we look forward to that happening.

‘I think the government can continue in that trajectory and we are bound to see positive changes and we look forward to when Nigeria can actually become a gas-powered economy in 2020,’ she said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria