Stakeholders seek FG’s permission to build gas infrastructures

Oredola Adeola

Major stakeholders in Nigeria’s natural gas industry have urged the Federal Government to support policy initiatives that would allow private sector players to invest in the installation and ownership of gas infrastructure, such as gas pipelines, including gas production and processing.

This was part of the challenges highlighted at the maiden edition of the Domestic Gas Summit 2022, organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and with the theme, “Building a Sustainable Gas Economy”.

EnergyDay checks revealed that the Federal Government had, during the time of Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the then Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, made efforts to privatise the management of the petroleum products pipeline network in the country as part of efforts to minimise the issue of perennial vandalism and ensure the availability of products in the country .

This laudable policy position, according to stakeholders, was in the usual style of the FG, truncated due to unstable and conflicting interests.

Chinedu Maduako, Chairman, Energy Trade Group, said, “We all know that gas is cheap, clean, and affordable. I just wondered why we have not been able to optimize it for our domestic energy needs.

“The biggest challenge in the gas market is the lack of infrastructure for gas production and distribution. The Federal Government should enable the private sector to build gas pipelines. This will enable the average Nigerian to have access to gas resources.

Mr. Olufisayo Duduyemi, Chief Strategy Officer, Axella Group,  said that one of the major challenges of gas development in Nigeria is the dearth of downstream infrastructure. He added that gas companies need the right policies and regulations in order to offer the support required to galvanise the country’s gas resources.

He said, “Our story is a story of collaboration. We’ve partnered with industrial concerns over the years. We’ve shown proof of concept to prove that last mile infrastructure capitalizes the economy.”

Seyi Omotowa, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC), said, “Only 1.5 billion cubic feet per day(bcf/d) of natural gas is released to the domestic market in Nigeria out of about 7 bcf/d of total production locally. There are a lot of domestic and industrial gas demands across the country as more than 6bcf/d is needed to feed the local market gas requirement. We only need to optimise the capacities of the different players in the upstream, midstream and downstream to ensure that we deliver maximum gas for the benefit of Nigerians.

In a  keynote address delivered by Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President on his behalf by Amb. Adeyemi Adebolu, the Special Adviser on Economic Matters, the VP said that the development of Nigeria’s gas resources is critical to the growth of the Nigerian economy and revenue expansion.

He noted that the government is committed to driving investment into the gas sector, even as priority is placed on the transition from fossil fuels to gas.

The VP said, “The government passed the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) as legislation to increase the production and use of natural gas as a means of powering economic development.

“The PIA has provided clear terms and conditions for investment in the various aspects of gas development.

Professor Osinbajo therefore urged the private sector to take advantage of the new laws and opportunities by rolling out investment in vast infrastructure.

According to him, the opportunities in the gas industry abound around the fabrication of cylinders, oil injections, autogas, conversion of petrol and diesel engines to gas engines for transportation and logistics, gas for power, and property liaison for steel and other productive uses.

Osinbajo, however, promised that the government will continue to work hard to improve the business environment, attack constraints, and resolve concerns, “he said.

The President of ACCI, Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, who was represented by Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, 2nd Deputy President of ACCI, described natural gas as the energy of choice globally due to its nature as being a cleaner, greener, and safer form of fuel.

According to him, “For Nigeria, the fossil fuel question stirs us in the face as the country’s transition fuel.

He said, “Unlike other countries without sustainable alternatives, Nigeria has an option and that is gas, a cleaner, green energy source. We only need to diversify and consider gas, above all, as necessary due to its benefits economically, domestically, and otherwise.”

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