Nigeria has declared a decade of gas to harvest its abundant natural gas resources but industry practitioners say without a master plan there would be no benchmarks to measure progress.
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That management begins with measurement has long been established. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” Peter Drucker, an Austrian management consultant, and educator is reported to have said decades ago.
This is why at the maiden edition of a webinar series focusing on the decade of gas and organised by the Association of Local Distributors of Gas (ALDG) people familiar with the gas industry said without a master plan it will be hard to hold anyone to account because there would be no milestones to attain within specific timeframes.
Yusuf Usman, chief operations officer, Gas & Power, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has requested the creation of a decade of gas master plan to complement the declaration of the decade of gas.
“This ten-year development plan will establish key timelines, define an appropriate investment strategy and make provision for infrastructural development,” Usman said at the ALGD webinar.
The webinar was themed ‘The Decade of Gas – Unlocking Opportunities in The Domestic Gas Market,’ and brought together stakeholders in the industry for a knowledge-sharing session.
From an investor’s perspective, Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, deputy managing director, Falcon Corporation, a conglomerate with a diverse portfolio in oil and gas said stakeholders need to begin with the end in mind by envisioning a nation that is fully industrialised. This is industrialisation that would have in-country value addition, with thriving gas-based industries.
Nevertheless, with this goal in mind, public and private players in the sector require actionable steps to achieve it, a workable plan. She acknowledged the progress achieved in policy development and sector-wide consultation under the current administration.
Joe-Ezigbo also asked for more decisive action that gives the industry traction as investors continue to navigate the challenges of multiple regulatory interfaces and the sanctity of contracts.
A reason this decade of gas is critical is energy security. Olakunle Williams, CEO, QSL Gas & Power Ltd argued that for Nigeria to go from 12,500 megawatts (MW) of installed generation capacity, of which 3, 500 MW to 5, 000mw is available on average to 180mw sustainable energy generation and domestic gas use are critical.
This means domestic gas production and use have to increase to support gas-based industrialisation and match growing energy needs for a population that is estimated to reach 400 million by 2050.
To achieve this, Williams stressed the need to domesticate and localise infrastructural development and financing. There are some success stories despite the numerous challenges.
One of these is Powergas Africa Limited, Africa’s largest compressed natural gas (CNG) producer and distributor and pioneer in virtual gas pipeline distribution.
In response to the gas infrastructure deficit to link up different parts of Nigeria, the company has built its Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) business around virtual pipelines.
Sumeet Singh, director, Sales & Strategy, Powergas Africa Limited said the business model of trucking gas by using virtual pipelines was conceived because they needed to move gas from points of availability to points of demand in the absence of infrastructure.
Singh emphasised that Nigeria is energy-hungry from ordinary citizens to the largest factories and this is a gap stakeholders in the gas industry could fill profitably.
Olu Verheijen, founder and managing director, Latimer Energy was clear when she said that the amount of resources Nigeria has is not the most important thing but the uses these resources are put to.
She cited the examples of Trinidad & Tobago and Australia who are powering economic growth and industrialisation with fewer resources.
Verheijen called for a focus on creating a friendly investment climate, passing progressive regulation quickly, and supporting local production as these are actionable steps within the reach of relevant actors in the public and private sector.
The ALDG was launched in 2020 to cater to gas end-users – the last mile in natural gas distribution.
Oga Adejo-Ogiri, executive secretary, ALDG said the webinar is the first in a series of conversations on topical issues in Nigeria’s gas industry.
The government has not only declared a decade of gas but is backing it up with policy design, implementation guidelines, and strategic partnerships that could unlock the economic potentials in a gas-rich country but obsessed with oil. However, a master plan is also required.