Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have reiterated the need for managers of the Nigeria gas sector to rethink and change focus towards developing the local gas market.
The industry experts while sharing their thoughts on the recently approved national gas policy observed that without losing track of the international gas market, government focus on growing local gas demand for and supply of gas and support investment in gas infrastructure.
Dolapo Oni, head Energy and research, Eco Bank Plc said Nigeria has long focused on the export market because she felt there wasn’t sufficient local demand.
According to him, “If you check our gas pipeline framework, most of the gas pipeline systems were created to take gas to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) plant in Bonny Island. The Escravos to Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) is the only major system taking gas out of the Niger Delta; where it feeds the local hub and West African Gas pipeline (WAGP)”.
He said Nigerians must recognise that the recently approved Gas Policy is a policy document which can best be described as a wish list; it is a statement of intentions, and above all projects what the government wants to achieve. “It however helps investors identify the direction government is taking regarding the sector so they can align their plans and investments properly”.
“A gas infrastructure blueprint should also be developed to guide development of appropriate gas infrastructure to support domestic supply. One key thing to note here is that there will no longer be a centrally planned gas market, government wants the gas market to be hub-based”.
Concerns over low local demand, weak infrastructure, and unattractive gas pricing couple with government lethargy have over the years pose major hurdles to Nigeria realising her gas utilisation prospect.
Also reacting to government policy for Liquefied Petroleum Gas ( LPG) to ensure development of a strong and rapidly growing market in Nigeria, Ayodele Oni, an energy expert observed that LPG is cleaner than most other energy sources, and its development would be welcome.
He however disclosed that without massive changes on the demand side it is unlikely that LPG consumption and usage would exceed petrol, diesel or natural gas consumption.
According to him, “Domestic and other consumption of LPG will likely lag behind natural gas and crude consumption without a major overhaul both on the demand side and the supply side for energy, and so dramatic increase is hard to foresee”. He said.
Petroleum Industry Roadmap as proposed in the Ibe Kachikwu 7 BigWins plan under the gas revolution says it will focus on establishment of robust infrastructure, gas based industries, Liquefied Natural Gas (LPG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) penetration.
The minister said that Nigeria’s gas revolution agenda seeks to introduce a significant boom in the oil and gas industry saying that the ministry is working with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) group and other stakeholders to ensure that the Gas Pipeline is completed on schedule.