Energy security extends beyond geopolitical stability to include energy infrastructure’s resilience, diversity, and reliability-Ekpo

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    Ekpo

    The gas industry, with abundant proven gas reserves of more than 208TCF and further exploration potential, is crucial for enhancing energy security. In the light of the above, Nigeria has no business with energy poverty.

    The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Gas, Ekperikpe Ekpo, stated this at the opening ceremony of the on-going 7th Edition of Nigeria International Energy Summit, NIES, 2024 in Abuja.

     

    “In our transition to a sustainable energy future, Nigeria has chosen gas as our transition fuel, facilitating the shift from more conventional to new and renewable energy sources. With its lower carbon footprint and versatility, natural gas aligns with global climate objectives while providing a reliable solution for our energy needs. Nigeria, with significant gas reserves, should leverage this advantage to become a key player in the global energy transition and a regional powerhouse for gas processing and industrialization”, he said.

    Finance is essential for transformative endeavours, and the gas sector is no exception. Attracting domestic and foreign investments is important to unlock the full potential of our gas resources. Collaboration with international partners, financial institutions, and the private sector is pivotal for securing funding for gas infrastructure development”, he added.

    Nigeria is currently facing challenges as we continue our journey of National development; however, these challenges also present us with a unique opportunity to seize the moment and define our future, without a doubt, the gas industry plays a crucial role in shaping the country’s energy future. The nation is rich in natural gas reserves. It is now essential to strategically utilize these resources to drive economic development, job creation, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability”, noted Ekpo.

    As we are all aware, overdependence on oil revenue poses significant economic risks for our nation. Despite efforts to diversify the economy away from oil dependence, we have faced numerous challenges. However, innovation and strategic vision become imperative in times of challenge. Today, I stand before you to advocate for a shift towards the vast potential that lies in our gas sector”, maintained the Minister.

    The shift towards gas is not merely an option but a necessity for our economic resilience. The gas industry presents a unique opportunity to diversify our revenue streams, reduce dependence on oil, and create a more robust and sustainable economic foundation. Our journey to revitalize the country’s economy through Natural Gas should stand on four key pillars”, he stressed.

    First, we are accelerating the deployment of gas-fired power plants and working with our counterparts in the Ministry of Power to ensure the reliability of gas supply to enhance the optimal availability of electricity nationwide. This goes hand-in-hand with encouraging private sector participation in the power sector through attractive investment frameworks and incentives. Secondly, we are promoting the use of natural gas as feedstock for industries, reducing operational costs and enhancing competitiveness. We are doing this by facilitating the establishment of gas-based industries to create more employment opportunities and boost economic growth”, disclosed the Minister.

    Thirdly, we will continue the development of the necessary infrastructure to ensure widespread access to clean and affordable natural gas for domestic consumers and encourage the adoption of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for transportation and household use, respectively. Last but not the least, we continue to strengthen partnerships with neighbouring countries to enhance regional gas trade and cooperation through the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) and other novel initiatives, including Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) and Tran-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) among others. We also want to explore more international markets for our liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, thereby positioning Nigeria as a major player in the global gas market”, explained Ekpo.

     

    “I am pleased to report that significant progress has been made in the realization of the ‘Decade of Gas’ vision. The official secretariat is now operational and fully functional. On September 12, 2023, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, announced the successful bidders for the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Program. Out of 300 interested entities, 42 were chosen, receiving 40 flare sites for independent development, while 4 entities got 9 sites each for cluster development. The allocated entities are expected to commence full operations on their sites this year”, disclosed the Minister.

    Another milestone in our journey towards a gas-focused economy is the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline. I am pleased to report that significant progress has been made in constructing this critical infrastructure project, and we are on track to ensure its completion and commissioning as scheduled. The Obiafu/Obrikom/Oben, OB3, is a vital piece of gas infrastructure for the supply of feedstock to the AKK pipeline. This pipeline is among Nigeria and Africa’s biggest gas transmission systems. Per the Contractor’s estimates, I am pleased to announce that the OB3 pipeline will be completed by March 2024, and the 42″ 127 km pipeline will supply 2BCF daily”, he noted further.

    Upon completion, according to him this pipeline will provide the AKK pipeline with gas from the three fields of Obiafu, Obrikom, and Oben. I want to use this opportunity to appreciate the resilience of the NNPCL Group for their steadfastness and proactive approach to ensuring the timely completion of the OB3 pipeline project.

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