May 20, 2019
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The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru, has expressed confidence that the Nigerian gas sector will attract $25 billion investments to the sector within the next 10 years in view of the huge opportunities abounding the sector.

Baru stated this while speaking at a panel session on New Oil & Gas Horizons and Procurement Procurements in Sub-Saharan Africa at the ongoing 50th Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), in Houston, United States of America. He described the Nigerian Petroleum Industry as the largest and the most vibrant in Sub-Saharan Africa with lots of potentials, especially in the deep water and untapped gas resources.

“Nigeria offers unique opportunities for investment in exploration, refining, storage, transportation, power, distribution and marketing of petroleum products,” Dr. Baru said.

According to a statement by NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, the GMD also addressed the issue of gas flaring in the country, stressing that the corporation has adopted a multi-pronged approach aimed at ensuring a sustainable solution to the historical problem of flaring, with the intention of turning it from waste into dollars. While speaking on another panel with the theme, ‘Nigeria’s Gas Flare Commercialisation, Prospects & Opportunities’, Baru also disclosed that the country has in the last decade reduced its gas flaring significantly from 25 to 10 per cent, Expanding on what he called a 3-point strategy being deployed by NNPC to arrest the growth in gas flares, he said the first step is to ensure non-submission of Field Development Plans (FDPs) to the Industry Regulator, the Department Petroleum Resources (DPR), without a viable and executable gas utilization plan, a move he said is aimed at ensuring no new gas flare in current and future projects.

He listed the other two strategies to include a steady reduction of existing flares through a combination of targeted policy interventions in the Gas Master-plan as well as the re-invigoration of the flare penalty through the 2016 Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialization Programme (NGFCP) and through legislation, which entail ban on gas flaring via the recent Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations 2018.

According to him, this would not only see Nigeria dropping from being the second highest gas flaring nation in the world to seventh, but would also signify a major milestone in its gas commercialization prospects. These have significantly reduced to current levels of about 800mmscfd and in the next 1-2 years we would have completely ensured zero routine flares from all the gas producers,” the GMD stated. Speaking on specific major, Baru said NNPC has embarked on the most aggressive expansion of the gas infrastructure network aimed at creating access to the market.

“Today, we have completed and commissioned almost 600km of new gas pipelines thereby connecting all existing power plants to permanent gas supply pipeline. We are also currently completing the construction of the strategic 127km Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben gas pipeline – “OB 3” connecting the Eastern supply to the Western demand centres,” he added.

Baru further noted that aside looping Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS 2) gas pipeline projects to increase gas volume capacity to at least 2Bcf/day, the corporation has recently signed the contracts to kick off the 614Km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline project, which on completion, would deliver gas to the ongoing power plants in the areas and revive the manufacturing industries in the northern part of the country.

“The development of Nigeria’s natural gas sector presents one of the most important economic opportunities to alleviate the security situation in the North of the country,” says Peter Schechter, cohost of the foreign policy podcast Altamar.

He assured that there was evidence that the interventions undertaken by the corporation were working, as gas supply to the domestic market is growing at an encouraging rate, having tripled from 500mmcf/d in 2010 to about 1500mmcf/d currently. Baru added that the aggressive development of gas infrastructure (pipelines and processing plant) between supply sources and the market would also create a sustainable evacuation route for currently flared gas and other gas sources.

Mohammed Adeyemi