Speakers at the ninth-anniversary lecture of the Realnews Magazine have urged
Nigeria and other African countries must halt their dependence on oil and begin to give priority attention to the development of natural gas, energy experts have said.
They spoke on Thursday in Lagos on the topic: “Nigeria in the Unfolding Integration of the African Market: The Oil and Gas Perspective”.
The experts noted that Nigeria has enormous reserves of gas resources needed to tap into to develop and grow her economy.
Executive secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote, said Nigeria and other African countries were evidently sitting in oil and gas reserves.
He said the African oil map revealed the rapid spread of the discovery of hydrocarbons, especially in the last two decades.
Wabote said it was estimated that even if the current gas consumption level in Nigeria was doubled, the country’s gas reserves would still last for another 50 years.
“Now, there is also a discussion as to 206 DCF as being the full gas reserves. And in some circles, the unproven gas reserves totalling 600 trillion cubic feet of gas.
“Between 2005 and 2015 alone. We had Ghana, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Liberia, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania as new additions to the League of countries with hydrocarbon resources.
“Evidently, Africa is particularly sitting on oil and gas reserves. In this year alone, Namibia announced the discovery of 120 billion barrels of oil comparable to the Permian Basin in Texas, United States of America.
“Other discoveries include the two billion barrels, discovered in Cote d’Ivoire , 700 million barrels in Ghana and 250 million barrels of oil in Angola as new discoveries.
“With proven oil reserves of 37 billion barrels of oil, which is the level largest in the world, and proven gas reserves of 206 trillion cubic feet, which is the ninth-largest in the world.
“Nigeria is also well known as a strategic player in the global oil and gas industry,’’ he said.
Consul General, Ghana Consulate General, Samata Bukari, urged African leaders to have the political will to leapfrog the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA).
“First of all, there is the need to bring all Africans, particularly member states together so as to properly harness AFCFTA since it is the second largest of the world trade organization that is yet to be implemented.
“It is going to benefit Africa and reduce poverty, it will increase our trade, revive our industries, and a whole lot of technology is now going to be built and leaned in our universities, particularly now that we are moving to the green economy.
“Fortunately again, Africa is lucky to have an abundance of sunlight; we have all it takes to go green economy.
“So. moving from fossil oils is not going to deter us to develop in any way but the most important thing for us is to have the political will,’’ Bukari said.
Earlier, Ms Maureen Chigbo, Publisher/Editor Realnews Magazine said that her choice of the topic was borne out of the realization that at present, the Nigerian economy was heavily dependent on oil.
“As we think of weaning the country of this dependency and lay emphasis on gas (especially with the declaration of the decade for gas in Nigeria by the federal government), we believe speakers at the lecture can provide a guide to achieve this objective, especially as more oil and gas are being discovered in countries in Africa.
“And at a time the integration of the African market through the AfCFTA has begun and emphasis is shifting to sustainable renewable energy resources,’’ she said.
She said that the lecture was also an opportunity to discuss Africa’s economic development, especially against the background of ongoing debate on the AfCFTA, whose implementation began on January 2021. (NAN)