Stakeholders lament Nigeria’s parlous gas situation

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Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Plant, Eleme
Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Plant, Eleme

Nigeria may not attain its potential especially as a gas power house in Africa and the world, until certain measures are in place, Chevron Nigeria Ltd and other industry operators have said. The operators spoke during a panel discussion on the current operating environment and outlook for gas industry in Nigeria at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition 2014 in Abuja.
They stressed on the need to strengthen infrastructure, security, capacity building of indigenous workforce, funding, discovery of new resources, policy implementation and partnership among oil companies and Nigerian regulators. Also, part of the problems they identified was a situation where oil has been placed as a priority at the detriment of gas.
This verdict is coming after the NNPC said the prevailing gas infrastructure component of the Gas Master plan was designed to increase domestic gas consumption three fold. NNPC  projected increase from 1.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcf) to 5.4 bcf per day by 2019 and a forecast of 3 million bpd target of oil production by 2020 from a stagnant 2.3m bpd.
Chairman/Managing Director Chevron Nigeria Ltd, Mr Andrew Fawthrop, said with timely implementation of the right policies and infrastructure, there’s no reason for Nigeria not to be a gas power house.  He said the country should be bothered about the huge dependence on oil to the detriment of gas which according to him stands at about 184 trillion cubic feet (tcf).
The Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production, NNPC, Mr Abiye Membere, while giving an account of the industry trend in recent years said the industry started on a wrong footing.  “The oil and gas industry didn’t start well. Basically what we are doing in the last decade is to try to correct it. We started the oil and gas industry in Nigeria only looking for oil, gas was as if it was a poisonous product. What happened over the last 50 years is that there is a major oil infrastructure in place and the gas infrastructure is lagging behind,” he said.
Mr Mutiu Sumonu, Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director Shell Petroleum Development Company, said Nigeria’s oil and gas was a mixture of challenges and real threats.  “Bureaucracy is a major hassle, it is overwhelming,” he said.
He called for an adoption of a practical approach as means of overcoming these threats. This practical approach, according to him involve IOCs taking up projects they are able to fund, trusted partnership among industry operators and regulators and capacity building of indigenous workforce by IOCs, among others.
Mr Cornelius Zegelar, Senior Vice President and MD Addax Petroleum and Mr Mark Ward, Chairman ExxonMobil Companies Nigeria, view was that the problem was a social problem that should be treated as such. “No amount of security will curb these problems because they are social problems that government must solve with the oil communities adequately carried along,” he said.

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