• Friday, May 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

NLNG boss says year of gas is not enough, Nigeria needs decade of gas

NNPC decries upsurge in vandalism of crude, gas pipelines

Nigeria has ridden on the back of oil for more than 50 years now is the time to fly on the wings of gas if the country was to leapfrog to that next level that it aspires to, hence the country will require a decades-long plan to deepen infrastructure, improve commercialisation rules for its gas, says Tony Attah, managing director of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas company (NLNG).

In a fireside chat with Frank Aigbogun, publisher of BusinessDay at the newspaper’s annual Energy Conference, Attah said that Nigeria is not short of policies around gas what will make the difference is the ability to implement them.

“We say it is a year of gas, but you cannot in one year achieve much to develop gas and become a gas nation,” he said. “We really must be bold to declare a decade of gas and then establish a 10-year window within which the commercial framework to enable Nigeria to harness the value of its gas resource and to galvanize domestic utilisation to lead to industrialization needs to happen,” Attah said.

He further noted that Nigeria has 200 TCF of proven gas reserve, the highest in Africa “but we also have over 600TCF scope for recovery in Africa so we know the 600 is there so we need to prove it and it will take us to Number four behind Turkmenistan. Today we are number 9. It is really about the deliberateness of the government to say we are ready for gas.”

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Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources in his speech at the event highlighted some of the government’s infrastructure project to deepen gas use domestically including the take-off of the AKK pipelines, OB3 pipeline connecting the Niger Delta to the South West part of Nigeria astern part of the country and renewed efforts to pass the petroleum industry bill and create a regulatory for the midstream sector of the oil and gas value chain.

Attah said the projects should be complemented with the security of assets to prevent vandalisation, as the security of assets will guarantee the security of supply.

Attah said that Nigeria needs to be deliberate about how it develops domestic gas use otherwise the dream of better power supply and industrialization will remain a dream.

“The government needs to be more deliberate and focused on gas,” warns Attah as the world is pivoting into an era of cleaner fuel with implications for Nigeria.

Energy has been in transition for a long time and dominance has shifted from steam to coal until oil became the dominant fuel.

This is changing due to largely impact on the influence of climate change. But a rapidly growing world population said to increase by over 2 billion in the next 50 years raises hope that the demand for energy will not completely dry out.

However Attah warned that fossil fuel has been identified as one of the risks associated with climate change, so even though the world needs energy it would want it clean.

“While oil will still be relevant, the focus will move away to gas, which is also fossil fuel but is cleaner but most importantly is available in abundance and we need to start positioning today.

“There is still coal in Enugu, but the world has moved away.

He shared his experience of a visit to Portugal trying to sell LNG to a big power company and suggested a possible partnership where they can come to Nigeria and set up 2GW power plant.

Attah said the company has placed a moratorium on investing in any power plant linked to fossil fuel. He said his attention was drawn to the IMF and World Bank policies about withholding financing for anything linked to oil.

“Countries are making such statements, so we cannot sit back and say we have oil, the relevance of oil is waning

Gas will struggle but it is cleaner and it s a bridging fuel, it the transition fuel that portends opportunities for us to play

In terms of the energy transition, renewables will grow much faster, but gas will continue to be in the mix

Attah said that on the back of new technologies, hydrogen is looking like the energy of the future. “None of us saw it coming but a country like Japan which has no resources and relies on LNG, is today is spending a lot of money to develop hydrogen and become independent.

“We use to sell over a million barrels a day of oil to the US, today we cannot sell more than 200,000 bpd, so we need to step up,” Attah said.