By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will fully utilize the enormous gas resources in the country to uplift the economy and drive industrialization.
The president stated this at the virtual Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) 2021 Pre-Summit Conference and official launch of the Decade of Gas in Abuja on Monday.
While setting the tone for the development of the industry in the next ten years, Buhari said given the country’s potential of about 600 trillion cubic feet of gas, the commodity had the enormous potential to diversify Nigeria’s economy.
‘‘The rising global demand for cleaner energy sources has offered Nigeria an opportunity to exploit gas resources for the good of the country.
“We intend to seize this opportunity.’’ he said.
The president told participants at the Pre-Summit that while his administration had prioritized gas development and recorded remarkable progress, “it is well known that Nigeria is a gas nation with a little oil, but the country has focused on oil over the years.’’
He said: ‘‘That is the paradox that this Administration decided to confront when we declared the year 2020 as “The Year of Gas” in Nigeria.
‘‘It was a bold statement to demonstrate the resolve of this Administration that gas development and utilization should be a national priority to stimulate economic growth, further improve Nigeria’s energy mix, drive investments, and provide the much-needed jobs for our citizens in the country.
‘‘Before the declaration of Year 2020 as The Year of Gas, this Administration had shown commitment to the development of Nigeria’s vast gas resources and strengthening of the gas value chain by reviewing and gazetting policies and regulations to enhance operations in the sector as encapsulated in the National Gas Policy of 2017.
‘‘Our major objective for the gas sector is to transform Nigeria into an industrialized nation with gas playing a major role and we demonstrated this through enhanced accelerated gas revolution.’’
While enumerating what his administration has done to energise the sector, the president said the development of gas infrastructure had commenced along with the domestic utilization of LPG and CNG.
He added that the process of commercializing gas flares, development of industrial and transport gas markets, and increasing gas to power had also commenced.
‘‘We also kick started other policies and projects like the National Gas Expansion Programme, Autogas policy and the construction of the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline.
‘‘After a thorough review of these laudable achievements and successes in the gas space, we acknowledge that Nigeria still has more work to do in the gas space.
‘‘This has led the Federal Government to begin a more proactive push towards gas development.
“This initiative will ensure further optimal exploitation and utilization of the country’s vast gas resources,’’ he said.
The president commended the collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Nigeria LNG Limited to actualize the dream of transforming Nigeria with its massive gas resources.
He described the NLNG as the Federal Government’s arrowhead in the reduction of gas flaring in Nigeria.
According to the president, NLNG, which contributes about one per cent to GDP, has generated 114 billion dollars in revenues over the years, nine billion dollars in taxes, 18 billion dollars in dividends to the Federal Government and 15 billion dollars in Feed gas Purchase.
The president noted that these achievements were accomplished with 100 percent Nigerian Management and 95 per cent Nigerian workforce.
He also applauded NLNG for winning the award for outstanding business strategy, in 2020, for going ahead with Train 7 during the global pandemic.
‘‘The Ministry of Petroleum Resources and NNPC are in various regards setting the pace.
‘‘I would like to charge all other relevant MDAs on the need to partner with the international oil companies, the indigenous oil companies and financial institutions to actualize the dream of fully utilizing our gas resources to uplift our economy,’’ he said.
Buhari affirmed that later this year, Nigeria would host the 4th International Petroleum Summit in Abuja.
He invited delegates at the NIPS Pre-Summit to attend the flagship event of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources that ‘‘will once more allow us to engage our partners and friends from around the world, exchange ideas and policy options and set the tone for the industry in the next few years.’’