According to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Nigeria needs an annual investment of $20 billion to materialize its vision for gas expansion and address gaps in its infrastructure.
On Monday, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, spoke at a policy dialogue regarding Nigeria’s Decade of Gas Action plan in Abuja. He emphasized that, given the dwindling investment in fossil fuels, it’s imperative to have clarity in prioritizing infrastructure development.
The African Initiative for Transparency, Accountability, and Responsible Leadership (AFRITAL) organized the dialogue with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI).
In December 2020, the federal government introduced the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) to promote using natural gas as a cleaner and more cost-effective energy source for domestic and industrial applications.
Orji highlighted that Nigeria possesses the largest gas reserves in Africa and ranks ninth globally, with reserves exceeding 200 trillion cubic feet (tcf).
“The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) represents a significant step forward for the gas sector by enhancing governance and providing fiscal frameworks for its growth,” Mr. Orji remarked.
He stressed that the gas utilization plan should outline market-driven opportunities that can effectively translate gas plans into sustainable economic advancement.
He noted that substantial investments in gas infrastructure are necessary to realize this vision. This entails establishing specific connections spanning upstream facilities, processing, power plants, and other end applications.
While the network code provides a framework for third-party access to address connectivity issues, achieving the targeted gas expansion would require an estimated $20 billion annually.
Mr. Orji recommended that the federal government formulate and publish a comprehensive, practical, and transparent gas policy with well-defined roles for state and non-state actors and timelines for monitoring progress.
He urged the government to align the integrated gas policy with Nigeria’s energy transition strategies and develop an action plan incorporating a robust monitoring and evaluation framework.
He also called for a comprehensive strategy to eradicate gas flaring through a privately-led commercialization initiative, advocating for an open, competitive, and transparent gas flare commercialization approach.
Louis Ogbeifun, the Executive Director of AFRITAL, expressed concern that, despite its vast gas resources, many Nigerians still rely on firewood or coal for cooking, posing health hazards.
Aaron Sayne from NGRI emphasized the need to address foreign exchange and policy matters, investment, and financing access for gas projects. He also encouraged indigenous players to replace International Oil Companies.
Oluremi Komolafe, the Director of Gas at the Ministry of Petroleum Resource, affirmed the ministry’s commitment to the energy transition. She noted that the NGEP is progressing towards realization, with ongoing efforts to convert engines to Compressed Natural Gas and increase production to meet demand.