By Bassey Udo
Nigeria is currently embarking on several initiatives, projects and policies to help derive more value from the country’s huge natural gas reserves, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.
Addressing the 6th Gas Exporting Countries Forum Summit in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday, Buhari said the recent enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) was part of the demonstration of government’s commitment to focus attention and invest on the exploitation of natural gas resources to derive more value for the country.
The President who was represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the PIA was to provide the required governance, regulatory and fiscal framework to support the growth of the gas industry.
Buhari said Nigeria, as a gas province with some oil, “is committed to sustainable growth of natural gas exploitation and utilization, both for domestic use and export via LNG and pipeline gas to sub-regional African countries.”
He listed some of the gas initiatives Nigeria was currently embarking upon to include the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), designed to provide the framework and policy support to extend gas supply and utilization in power generation, gas-based industries, and in emerging niche gas sectors, such as gas in transportation, LPG for cooking and remote virtual gas supply using trucks to convey LNG and CNG to industries.
The others initiatives, according to the president, included the Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline to support 5 billion cubic feet per day of domestic gas utilization in the near term, and 5-Gigawatt power generation; the expanding of the current LNG production capacity to about 30 million tons per annum at Bonny with the on-going NLNG Train 7 project, and the declaration of 2021-2030 as the “Decade of Gas” towards a gas-powered economy.
These initiatives, he said, would not only lower Nigeria’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but also reduce the country’s import bills.
With natural gas projected to be the leading fossil fuel in the energy transition, the President said “the GECF, given its member countries vast natural gas resources and experience in the oil and gas industry, was well positioned to provide stewardship and credible platform to promote natural gas as a sustainable fuel for an effective energy transition.
“We therefore need to continue to assess the gas and energy market dynamics both in the short, medium, and long-term timeframe, with the aim of taking market opportunities and collectively address the challenges,” he said.
To achieve the set objectives, Buhari stressed the “need to work together as policy makers, investors, energy industry decision makers, researchers, and technology developers to make modern energy sources, such as natural gas, available and affordable to all”.
While restating Nigeria’s commitment to Conference of Parties (COP26) Glasgow declaration towards zero carbon emissions, the president however noted the importance of natural gas for effective energy transition towards a low carbon future and as a fuel for socio-economic development, considering its abundance, flexibility and acceptability as the cleanest fossil fuel.
The 6th GECF Summit of Heads of State and Government was organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Amir of the State of Qatar.
The Summit provided participants opportunity to meet and exchange views on the dynamics of the gas and energy markets, policies and regulations shaping the industry which is pivotal to our socio-economic development and energy security.
Also, the Summit gave the GECF member countries the platform to reaffirm their commitments to the objectives of the Forum.
Buhari said the resurgence of COVID-19 and new variants of the virus, fluctuation weather, and exceptionally high prices of gas and LNG impact the world’s routine activities, particularly in the gas and energy sectors.
As acknowledged during the recently concluded Conference of Parties (COP26), the President said many countries recognized the role of natural gas for effective energy transition towards a low carbon future as well as a fuel for socio-economic development.
He recognized the role of governments and the private sector in providing the necessary capital to fund clean energy technologies and projects to support the transition to a low carbon future.
Buhari described the theme for the Summit, “Natural Gas: Shaping The Energy Future” as timely and fitting to the global trend and quest for energy transition to be fueled by clean and low-carbon energy fuels as well as for energy market stability.
The Summit, he said, presented the participants the opportunity to promote a New Energy Order as an effective approach for efficient energy transition where natural gas and other sustainable fuels, such as renewables would be central to the realization of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No 7, to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.
The new energy order, he said, must be timely, and provide solutions to global energy related challenges while creating value for businesses and society.
To this end, he said this required the provision of technology and innovation, adequate investments, and policies to exploit the natural gas resources and deploy innovative carbon reduction technologies and mechanisms, such as Carbon Capture & Storage towards achieving a realistic Greenhouse Gas emissions reduction target.
He stressed the importance of collaboration amongst GECs and the building of the capacity of the next generation of energy leaders, to take advantage of market opportunities.
In view of the devastating impact of climate change as evident in desertification, drought, pollution in the northern, central, and coastal parts of the country, respectively, he said Nigeria was committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2060.