Nigeria to shift attention from oil to natural gas

Nigeria has resolved to concentrate on its vast natural gas deposits as the catalyst for development.

With a potential exceeding 600 trillion cubic feet, the country remains the hub for natural gas in West African with a 681-kilometre pipeline which currently supplies neighbouring Benin, Togo and Ghana.

Nigeria is among the world’s top five exporters of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

The decision to shift attention to gas from crude oil was relayed by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Tehran, Iran.

He was quoted as saying Nigeria was taking the steps because natural gas was more environment-friendly as it emits less carbon than crude oil and other fossil fuels.

President Buhari noted that for decades, Nigeria had focused singularly on the development of crude oil.

“Our current proven gas reserve base is 188 trillion cubic feet. But our actual gas potential may be in excess of 600 trillion cubic feet,” he said.

The Nigerian leader told the forum of the need to deploy new innovations in exploration, processing, logistics and marketing for the benefit of producers.

He also asked GECF member countries to ensure that the exploration of gas was done in a sustainable manner for the sake of the future generations.

Nigeria’s minster of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has identified market volatility, increasing competition and price wars as key challenges to the gas industry.

He has also identified escalating costs of infrastructural development as a bane to the gas industry.

Dr Kachikwu, who is also the president of the GECF, said that volatility had brought much uncertainty and instability to the market while affecting decisions on investment for long term supply of gas.