June 19, 2024

Stakeholders express fear over continuity of decade of gas initiative, urge incoming administration to build on gains

Oredola Adeola
Stakeholders in the Nigerian gas sector have expressed fear over the continuity of the Decade of Gas Programme initiated by outgoing Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, urging the incoming administration to build and consolidate on the success achieved in the last three years of implementation.
This was part of the concerns raised by participants and other industry players at the just concluded Nigerian International Energy Summit (NIES) held in Abuja.
Engr. Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), in his presentation on the theme: “Capacity for Realization of Nigeria’s Decade of Gas” said that “it is possible that the incoming government will give the programme a new name”.
Wabote charged the private sector players and other relevant authorities not to lose focus on the importance of gas to Nigeria’s energy needs and economic development. He also challenged stakeholders not to get distracted or steam off in the implementation of the programme, even as a new administration is set to assume office on May 29, 2023
According to the NCDMB boss, as Nigeria navigates the 3rd year of implementing the Decade of Gas Programme of the Federal Government, the action parties must be committed to providing annual status reports of the successes, issues, support required, and target completion dates.

He further suggested that the status reports should be prepared by agencies, entities and stakeholders that are responsible for the various projects and initiatives identified in the Decade of Gas programme and presented at the NIES which holds annually at Abuja.

Wabote also highlighted eight focus areas the Board is utilizing to drive the realization of the Decade of Gas initiative of the Federal Government, including human capacity development, construction of industrial parks, public-private partnerships and Nigerian Content Intervention Funds. Others are Research and Development, Regulatory Framework, Regional Collaboration, and Enabling Business Environment.
Dr. Philip Mshelbila, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria LNG Limited(NLNG) during a panel session at the Nigerian Gas Association’s International Conference and Exhibition, noted that it will be unproductive for the incoming administration to abandon those laudable gains that have been achieved in the last three years of implementing the Decade of Gas programme in Nigeria.
He caution the incoming administration against reintroducing another gas master plan that is capable of returning the country back to difficult years of struggle.
Mshelbila said, “The Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas project is already due for completion. There are a number gas projects that needed to happen quickly. We have an idea of the cost. There is an understanding that Government cannot fund everything. Within the plan there is an agreement that the government will put down $1bn to $2bn down every year on top of which it can attract private sector’s counterpart fundings.”
The NLNG MD while suggesting some of the things that needed to be urgently done to consolidate the three years gains, said, ” Nigeria needs to review the commercials of the gas market, which is very essential for the growth of the sector.
“We need to work out the gas pricing template that favour gas producers and how to move from the present regime to a cost-reflective regime, onward to a market level. We can catch up with Countries that are doing amazing things in the oil sector using the Decade of Gas.
“We have worked out some of the actions that needed to be taken in the short-medium terms (12 and 24 months), what is now needed is the need to put a very strong governance structure in place, consisting of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, sponsors and industry players and other critical stakeholders.
“We also need to strengthen coordination of the entire value chain. All the stakeholders must be committed to coordinating the decade of the gas programme by putting all the issues together for actual implementation.
“Security in the Niger Delta is another fundamental determinant of the success of the programme that was not captured in the Decade of Gas programme. We urge the incoming administration to be determined to address this issue head-on.
Dr Mshelbila emphasised that the success achieved so far within the three years of implementing the decade of the gas programme are complimentary efforts put in place by the different private sector players including the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), Independent Petroleum Producers (IPP), NNPCL and other critical players.
He said, “We already have the gas master plan. We do not need anyone to reinvent the wheel. I appeal to those who have the ears of the incoming administration encourage the new Nigerian President to come in, settle down quickly and take this up and run the race.
“The Decade of Gas programme is one of the best examples of a public-private policy partnership that has ever been initiated in Nigeria. This is how we can secure the future economy of Nigeria,” the NLNG MD said.
Tayo Akinkunmi, Chairman, the Petroleum Contractors Trade Section (PCTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) while speaking during the panel session advised the new administration to focus on sustaining the gains of the gas master plan and the decade of gas is to the area of sustainability.
He said, “Nigeria has failed to make a significant investment in upstream oil and gas projects. Focus has to be put on humanising energy in Nigeria.
“We also need to understand that the communities where all these natural resources are tapped from must also be empowered with all that is required to get them out of poverty.
Akinkunmi who is also the Country Manager and Managing Director of TechnipFMC Nigeria, however, said that Nigeria needs to focus on making sure that its gas resources are optimised to unlock its economic value.