Stakeholders at gas roundtable seek policies to boost investment

Chief Executive Officer, Seplat, Austin Avuru (left); Senior Technical Adviser, Upstream and Gas to Minister of State, Petroleum, Gbite Adeniji; Regional Director, thebusinessyear, Paul Loomis and Eddy van den Broeke of Greenville Oil and Gas Co during a roundtable on gas for development in Lagos… yesterday. PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

Stakeholders who gathered at a Roundtable for Gas Development, organised by The Business Year, in partnership with the Lagos Petroleum Club, have emphasised the need for the Federal Government to implement policies that would attract more investment into the gas sector.

The event was opened by a renowned International Petroleum Explorationist, Dr. Ebi Omatsola, who delivered an address on the most significant barriers to growth in the Nigerian gas sector.

Speaking on ‘Gas for Development: An Alternative Concept’, Omatsola stressed the need to encourage a gas storage facility of a least 90 days’ capacity at every power plant for the security of supply.

He said there was also the need to set target dates to meet power availability to Nigerian households and businesses, noting: “Incentives should be provided to local production of metering systems. There is also the need to convert part of the existing liquefied natural gas locations to sites for the construction of regasification terminals.

“We should also pursue the utilisation of LNG in all spheres of Nigerian economy and initiate, with the cooperation of the private sector, the availability of power plants and associate gas supply infrastructure in all cities in Nigeria with over one million inhabitants.”

The roundtable began with a discussion on gas pricing, which in Nigeria is controlled by the Federal Government.

The Senior Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Upstream and Gas, Gbite Adeniji, defended the policy on gas as crucial to the growth of the sector.

He expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to the development of the Nigeria’s gas sector.

Speaking also at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Dr. Austin Avuru, insisted that getting funding for gas projects has remained a major challenge in the sector.

He therefore advocated a fully liberalised pricing regime that would see more stand-alone investments in the entire gas value chain.

He attributed the high price of gas to inefficiency in the entire gas value chain. “So, if there is efficiency in the upstream, processing and distribution, there will be a drop in price. If the market delivers value to you, you will invest,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, Tony Attah, said the company has contributed significantly to the development of the Nigerian economy through the payment of dividends to the Federal Government.

He disclosed that the company’s Train Seven project, which is expected to boost its gas production, would soon come on stream.

Attah said that the current administration is passionate about increasing the country’s existing trains from the present six to 12.

The Country Editor, Nigeria, The Business Year, Silvia Lambiase, said that the roundtable was intended to provide a forum wherein key stakeholders across the gas sector could discuss issues, both regulatory and market-based, affecting the industry in Nigeria.

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