Strategic development plan will boost both export and domestic gas-NLNG MD
By Precious Chimezie
The Managing Director of Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), Tony Attah, at the recently concluded Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, said that a long term strategic development plan would encourage investments, improve infrastructure in the country and boost production of both export and domestic gas.
Chairing a breakout panel discussion at the Energy Session of the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) titled “Exploring private sector opportunities and investment in gas,” Attah remarked that the gas export business could easily attract more investments which can be used to develop the much needed infrastructure to unlock and unleash the potentials ofproven and unproven gas reserves of 187 and 600 trillion cubic feet (tcf) respectively in the country. He added that this can only be enabled via the right policies, legislation and incentives to drive investments in the sector.
The session was attended by the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu; the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru as well as the President of the Nigerian Gas Association, Engineer Dada Thomas and other industry chief executives.
Commenting on the potential of gas in Nigeria, Attah stressed that it was time for gas development in Nigeria, adding that the industry can stimulate growth in every sector of the economy especially agriculture, industries and power, but it will only do so if factors currently inhibiting rapid growth are effectively addressed.
“Underinvestment in appraisal and exploration activities due to inconsistent policies, unattractive commercial framework, security of investments, etc. invariably impact gasreserves, production, and commercialization”.
Summarising short to long term solutions reached by the panel, Attah stated that the gas industry should be liberalised and a climate of willing seller and willing buyer should drive gas price, rather than the current practice of price capping.
He also remarked further that Nigeria and Qatar started out in the gas business about the same time, however, Qatar has rapidly developed its gas industry and produces 77 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) while Nigeria’s current capacity is just about 22 mtpa.
The panel also recommended a revamp of the fiscal and commercial framework in the industry to encourage investments in gas and guarantee investors’ return on investments.
Earlier, while opening the session, Dr Kachikwu said the Federal Government is looking at more gas investments as part of a strategic move from oil. He stated that the government is reviewing the existing Production Sharing Contract (PSC) gas terms as well as strengthening implementation of gas policies to encourage exploration of gas, adding “gas infrastructure is a key area but policies will have to drive tariff possibilities.”
Attah was a session panellist at the NES which is an annual event and a platform for Chief Executives and experts to brain storm and build consensus on policy options and implementation frameworks. This year’s theme is “Opportunities, Productivity and Employment: Actualising the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan”.
NLNG is owned by four shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC (49%), Shell Gas BV, SGBV, (25.6%), Total LNG Nigeria Limited (15%), and Eni International (N.A,) N. V. S. a. r. l (10.4%).