Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja
The Federal Government has been called upon to invest more in gas infrastructure rather than crude oil, which according to Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi will continue to decline in long term economic value as the world continues to embrace cleaner forms of energy.
The Group Managing Director of Nestoil Group, Dr Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi made the plea while speaking during the just concluded Nigeria Oil and Gas conference in Abuja.
According to Azudialu-Obiejesi who was represented by the Group Chief Operating Officer, Nestroil, Dr Chukwueloka Umeh, many countries in Europe are at the forefront of energy revolution, which he said with time, African countries, including Nigeria, will be dragged along.
“It is time now to embrace a paradigm shift and change Nigeria’s energy focus squarely from crude oil to gas”.
He also called on the FG to allow market forces to determine the cost of gas in order for the Nigerian economy to benefit from Nigeria’s gas prowess. The Nestoil Group Managing Director said it was rather sad to note that a country like South Africa without Nigeria’s natural gas reserves produce over 40,000 megawatts of electricity for a population of only 57 million people while Nigeria could only manage about 4,000 megawatts of power despite having the 9th largest gas deposits of gas in the world.
He said the Nigerian power deficit will not improve if the FG does not take the drastic step of completely allowing market forces to determine costs. He said a willing-buyer-willing-seller scenario that allows gas producers to sell to off-takers at commercially viable rates is what will encourage investments in the gas sector. He said the successful deregulation of the Telecommunications sector in Nigeria was a good case study that the oil and gas industry should emulate in order to stimulate exponential growth in that sector.
According to Dr Azudialu, the telecoms sector is growing in Nigeria because government regulations are relaxed enough to allow competition to drive pricing and product offerings. He gave the example of China which significantly turned around the fortunes of the country in over 20 years by investing in power and other infrastructure.
“The primary catalyst for China’s growth was the country’s strong stance to invest in building a robust infrastructure.
“They built large baseload power plants in many locations to provide reliable power to its growing manufacturing industries. With these power plants that run primarily on coal, China is able to produce goods at competitive prices,” he concluded.
Nestoil is Nigeria’s largest indigenous Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) company in the oil and gas sector and has been a significant contributor to the industry since inception in 1991.
With over 1,500 direct employees, Nestoil continues to redefine industry standards in pipeline construction, repairs and maintenance with associated facilities for dredging.