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Multinationals identify Nigeria's obstacles to become gas power in Africa

20 March 2014, 06:41

Abuja - Chevron Nigeria Limited has said that Nigeria’s desire to become a gas power in Africa will not be attained if security and other infrastructure are not strengthened.

It said Nigeria’s potential in oil and gas would remain a mirage if issues of inadequate funding, poor policy implementation and low capacity building in the petroleum industry were not addressed.

Chevron’s Managing Director Andrew Fawthrop supported by other chief executive officers of multinationals, made this known at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja on Wednesday.

Fawthrop insisted that for the industry to be prosperous, infrastructure, security, capacity building of indigenous workforce, funding, discovery of new resources needed to be in place.

Other facilities required to ensure viability and realisation of desired status in gas production, according to him, are policy implementation and partnership among oil companies and the industry’s regulators.

He particularly identified the existing situation where oil had been made priority at the detriment of gas as a big challenge to the nation’s gas projection and aspiration.

He, however, said that with timely implementation of the right policies and provision of adequate infrastructure, “there was no reason for Nigeria not to be a gas power house”.

According to him, the country should be bothered about the huge dependence on oil to the detriment of gas, which stands at about 184 trillion cubic feet.

In his contribution, Abiye Membere, Executive Director, Exploration and Production, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said that operations in the nation’s oil 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.

On his part, Mutiu Sumonu, Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria said that the nation’s oil and gas was a mixture of challenges and real threats.

Sumonu also said that bureaucracy was a major problem and had been overwhelming the industry operators.

Cornelius Zegelar, Managing Director of Addax Petroleum and Mark Ward, Chairman, ExxonMobil Companies Nigeria, held that the threats in the industry were social and 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,” they said.

The media recalls that Andrew Yakubu, Group Managing Director of NNPC, at the seminar on Tuesday said existing gas component of the Gas Master Plan was designed to increase domestic gas consumption three-fold.

He projected gas production increase from current 1.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcf) to 5.4 billion cubic feet per day by 2019.

He also gave of a forecast of three million barrels per day target of oil production by 2020 from the prevailing “stagnant 2.3 million barrels per day”.

-    NAN

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