………..Proven reserves worth $803.4trn
With the proposed designation of gas as ‘green energy’ by the European Union (EU), Nigeria would have great chances at accessing the needed funding to boost gas production to meet domestic and export demands.
Though the country has a huge proven gas reserves of 206 trillion cubic feet (TCF) which is now valued at $803.4 trillion, and the potential upside of 600TCF of gas, the most extensive in Africa, and in the top 10 globally, Nigeria has been unable to produce enough to meet local and international demands for the commodity.
The country has been particularly under pressure recently to increase gas supply to Europe as a result of the continent’s higher demand on the back of the Ukraine-Russia war.
Speaking at the 2022 Annual Public Lecture of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Bwari Branch, Abuja, minister of state, Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, insisted that the growth of Nigeria’s gas reserves was a critical lever to achieving the government’s “Decade of Gas Initiative’’, aimed at transforming Nigeria to a gas-powered economy by 2030.
He admitted that the government has a key role to play in energizing the private sector to act so that Nigeria’s economy can compete with the rest of the global economy, listing its three major priorities as security of supply, economic competitiveness, and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
“At present, only gas can meet all three priorities simultaneously. This puts Nigeria with approximately 206.53 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven gas valued at over $803.4 trillion and potential upside of 600TCF of gas, the most extensive in Africa, and in the top 10 globally.
“And luckily for Nigeria, the European Union has proposed labelling natural gas as a ‘green energy’ source, a development that could translate into huge economic value for Nigeria.
“The decade of gas is a decade of opportunities – ranging from a decade of elimination of gas flaring, a decade of more domestic Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), a decade of fully gas-powered economy and natural gas,” the minister said.
With the theme: ‘‘Inclusive Energy Transition: Key Issues, Investment Opportunities and Barriers Towards Achieving the Decades of Gas Initiative in Nigeria,” the minister stated that Nigeria has made strong commitments to embrace the energy transition, pledging to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2060.
Sylva posited that Nigeria was following a transition pathway that combines technology, investment, business strategies, and government policy that will enable the country to transition from its current energy system to a low-carbon system with natural gas playing a pivotal role over the next generation.
He noted that natural gas would play a critical and long-term role in achieving energy security and enhancing environmental outcomes for Nigerians as the global energy sector undergoes unprecedented change.
According to him, Nigeria was well positioned to pioneer future natural gas technology and compete in global markets that are constantly changing as it has huge natural gas reserves and a highly skilled workforce.
To make that happen, the minister noted that individual, corporate Nigeria and professional associations like the NSE as well as governments at all levels, must develop a new enlightenment, an energy literacy that includes a profound understanding that energy pervades all aspects of life.
He stated that engineering skills would be vital towards achieving the aspirations of many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially SDG7 that calls for “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030.
He urged engineers to leverage on existing and widely deployed technologies and future developments including next-generation mobile broadband, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, 3D printing and others, to provide the tools for integrated solutions of the decade of gas.
“The NSE needs to lend its voice to the contributions of engineers in progressing the decade of gas initiative. Through its network of national and international engineering member institutions, the NSE should be able to contribute to the discourse on the role of engineering and engineers in the development of technologically and environmentally feasible solutions for Nigeria,” he said.
He assured that the ministry of petroleum resources was ready to collaborate with the NSE on the decade of gas journey because engineering is about the knowledge and practice of solving problems.
“We need to partner in this journey to deal with the energy poverty in the country. we must find a way to unlock the natural gas potential of Nigeria and drag millions of our people out of energy poverty.
“Markets alone will not drive the energy transition at a sufficient pace or scale to address the climate challenge from an investment standpoint,” he contended.
Sylva insisted that Nigeria requires fossil fuels as its base-load energy source because only renewable energy as the sole pathway to energy transition is a source of concern for country and African countries that are still working to achieve industrialisation, address energy poverty and ensure reliable power supply.
According to him, the president’s assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) on August 16, 2021, has marked the end of decades of inaction, ambiguity, indecision, and under-investment in Nigeria’s petroleum industry.
The minister reiterated the need for Africa to plan to establish an African Energy Bank (AEB) to address its own peculiar energy related crisis and take Africans out of the doldrums of energy poverty in line with SDG No 7.