GUEST Column by Musa Ilallah
It is on record that since coming on board, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has consciously, consistently and continuously prioritised the unlocking and harnessing of the potential of the country’s resources including gas resources to increase domestic and industrial power supply, raise living standards of Nigerians and furthermore support sustainable economic growth and diversification of the Nigerian economy.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Federal Government would soon commence the construction n of the 600-kilometre Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline which would move gas from the Southern part of the country to the North.
Malam Garba Shehu, a Fellow of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, FNGE and the President’s spokesman in a statement in Abuja, said the Nigerian leader disclosed this while addressing the 5th Gas Exporting Countries Forum, GECF Summit tagged ‘Natural Gas – Energy for Sustainable Development’ at the Sipopo International Conference Hall, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea last year. The President while further justifying the gas pipeline added that the viability of extending the gas pipeline by his administration to North Africa was also under serious consideration.
In the words of President Buhari, “We are mindful of the energy deficit in the developing world especially, here in Africa where we have nearly 600 million people without access to modern energy. As responsible leaders, it is our duty to preserve the environment not only for the present but for future generations.’’
”We in Nigeria have led the way by the construction of the West Africa Gas Pipeline which runs through four West African countries,” he said adding that the foresight of the founding fathers of the GECF “in promoting natural gas in the global energy mix” must be commended.
Records from the Nigeria’s National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC shows that Nigeria is blessed with around 202 trillion cubic feet, TCF of proven gas reserves plus about 600 TCF unproven gas reserves. However, despite having the largest gas reserves in Africa, only about 25% of those reserves are being produced or are under development today.
Nigeria sits on fortune as the ninth largest gas reserves in the world.
Nigeria loses revenue of approximately US$1 billion from the associated gas. The PMB administration has put in place strong political will and policies to end gas flaring in the country. Nigeria has endorsed World Bank’s ‘zero routine flaring by 2030 initiative’ and established the Nigerian Gas flare and commercialization programme, NGFCP.
This effort is capable of creating 300, 000 jobs. Nigerians must rise up to fully support the Nigerian government in this laudable effort.
Shell Companies in Nigeria continue to contribute to economic development in the country by supplying gas to meet domestic needs, such as power generation and industrial processes. Gas is also delivered to the Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG export market.
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd, SPDC, the operator of the SPDC Joint Venture (SPDC interest 30%) is working closely with its government partner, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, to increase gas supply for power generation.
To this end, in 2018 SPDC expressed its commitment to the Nigerian government in executing three out of seven Critical Gas Development Projects:
The SPDC JV’s aspiration is to transform into a gas-oriented business designed to secure value across the entire gas value chain that creates a sustained positive socio-economic impact for Nigeria.
It also aims to grow its gas production capacity to meet domestic gas supply obligations as well as commitments to supply gas to the Nigeria liquefied natural gas, NLNG plant for export partners and the Federal Government of Nigeria towards the objective of ending the continuous flaring of associated gas. For the avoidance of doubt, associated gas refers to natural gas found in association with oil within a reservoir.
In her conscious efforts to tame gas flaring, the Nigerian Government had since 2000, designed all SPDC JV facilities to eliminate continuous flaring of associated gas.
Consequent upon this iniative, flaring volume from SPDC JV facilities was reduced by nearly 90% between 2002 and 2018 and flaring intensity (hydrocarbon flared divided by total hydrocarbon production) decreased by 80% over the same period. Divestments also contributed to a further reduction.
Flaring from SPDC JV’s operations in 2018 decreased by around 9% compared to 2017 and flaring intensity also decreased by around 10% from the previous year. The decrease in 2018 is partly attributed.
To underscore the importance government attaches to the gas sector, the Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva recently inaugurated Nigeria’s National Gas expansion programme committee. The larger aim is to steer the gas sector for optimal performance and better utilisation of the country’s abundant gas resources.
According to Sylva, ‘’Nigeria was at the verge of becoming a gas hub for the African continent’’. When fully at work, the gas policy has the capacity to significantly reduce poverty and increase the per capita income of Nigerians.
The PMB administration deserves support and commendation for its steadfastness in ending gas flaring and making associated gas available at affordable prices and at the doorsteps of Nigerians in all its nooks and crannies.
Ilallah wrote in from EMEKA ANYAOKU STREET, ABUJA