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Natural gas, Nigeria’s economic game changer – FG

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The Federal Government has expressed its commitment to harnessing the nation’s abundant natural gas resources for the economic transformation stressing that it will enable the country to rebalance its energy portfolio.

Describing it as a game changing fuel, the government assured that it is poised to make it a platform fuel for the Nigerian economy.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, stated this while speaking at the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) 2021 Business Forum & Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday.

He noted that the country’s abundant natural gas will enable it to rebalance her energy portfolio, using it for power, electricity, petrochemical, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation etc.

Sylvia who was represented at the virtual meeting by his Technical Adviser on Gas Business & Policy Implementation; Engr. Justice O. Derefaka, said gas is what Nigeria needs as the country faces up to a period of profound change.

The Minister who described the theme of the event:
“Petroleum Industry Act (PIA): Progress & Opportunities In The Decade of Gas,” as apt said natural gas can play as a “safe, abundant force for good” in fulfilling the country’s future energy demands.

This, according to him, is because natural gas will be needed for several generations as long as human civilization needs energy. He wondered why the developed countries should reap the benefits of industrialization and deny developing countries like Nigeria from enjoying the benefits of gas.

“No doubt natural gas is seen as the oxygen and lifeblood of Nigeria’s socio-economic resurgence. Most experts agree that the ability to cost-effectively develop our vast deposits of natural gas is a game changer for our energy future. This resource base represents new opportunities for domestic and global economic growth, as well as changing fuel choice options in multiple sectors.

“We must keep demonstrating that natural gas is a part of the solution if the world is concerned about climate change and pollution.

“Natural gas and renewables have an unusually happy interaction. Natural gas, in my opinion, should not be viewed as a competitor to renewable energy. Rather, natural gas should be seen as a great ally and partner for renewable energy, which should be viewed as a demand driver for natural gas,” he said.

On the need for partnership, he said, “Let me also say this, government cannot do it all alone, we need to collaborate across broad spectrum and dimensions, i.e., government, industry, academia, professional associations like the NGA to make this happen. Hence, my initial assertion that – The bedrock and foundation of the FG’s Decade of Gas Development Initiative and our Energy Future is hinged on Collaborative Partnership.

Sylvia explained that the PIA 2021 has created a critical foundation for the much-desired industrialization and economic development of the country, adding that It also has generous incentives to enable development, distribution, penetration, and utilisation of gas.

“The PIA is part of the FG’s resolve and commitment to building a competitive & resilient petroleum industry that will attract investment, improve revenue base, create jobs & support the economic diversification agenda.

“It is a supply-side enabler, capable of provoking and triggering commercial interests & investments in gas utilisation. Even as it treats gas as a stand-alone commodity, Plus, it creates a distinct midstream decoupled from upstream gas.

“The Gas Flare (Prevention of Waste & Pollution) Regulations 2018 of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP) is ‘Grandfathered’ in the PIA with imposition of stiffer penalty for gas flaring, which shall not be deductible for tax purposes, unless as may be permitted by the Minister subject to certain conditions.

“Imposition of a domestic gas supply obligations to the strategic sectors to meet local demand e.g., Power, Fertilizer Plants, Methanol etc as well as possibility for Buyers of gas to “commercially bypass ”distribution companies & buy gas directly from producers.

“The PIA’s Midstream & Downstream Gas Infrastructure Fund warehoused by the Authority is visionary and revolutionary. You will recall the midstream sector of Nigeria’s gas value chain, which includes refining and transportation, has remained the least developed, although having a large market potential for revenue and job creation.

“The Midstream & Downstream Gas Infrastructure Fund is to encourage substantial infrastructure development relating to midstream and downstream gas operations.

“The fund will promote gas distribution pipelines in gas-scarce areas, delivering massive volumes of gas daily to industrial demand centres and commercial clusters, and bolstered by a thriving and cost-effective virtual pipeline delivery system that enables flexible, remote, and micro-volume delivery to gas consumers across the country.

In his welcome address, President, NGA, Ed Ubong, said that the NGA Business Forum aligns with its mandate of creating the right platform for gas advocacy; providing opportunity for players to share ideas, interrogate policy frameworks and engage government and critical stakeholders with the sole aim accelerating Nigeria gas development.

“The passage of the PIB into law is a clear demonstration of the Government’s commitment to accelerate development of the oil and gas industry in an energy transition era. For us at the NGA and as the frontline advocacy group for gas, we are keen to explore the potentials offered by the PIA and how we can leverage the legislation to deliver the imperatives of the decade of gas.

“Given the criticality of gas towards Nigeria economic development, prosperity and energy security, it is expedient that industry leaders take a look back at 2021 and provide a holistic outlook for 2022 proffering robust, sustainable and actionable solutions towards actualising a gas-powered economy,” he added.

The Business Forum will attract Industry Professionals and Technocrats, International Delegations, CEOs of Major International Oil & Gas Companies and Regulatory Authorities, Industry Professionals and Technocrats, Key Players in the Financial Sector, Policymakers, affiliate industries and sectors, among several others.

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