By Cynthia Ezekwe.
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said that Nigeria requires $20 billion annual investment to achieve the desired gas expansion and deepen the use of natural gas in the country.
The agency disclosed this at the ‘Decade of Gas Action Plan Dialogue’ event organised recently in Abuja, by the African Initiative for Transparency, Accountability and Responsible Leadership (AFRITAL) in collaboration with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)
Meanwhile the federal government in December 2020 rolled out the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) to deepen the use of natural gas and make it a preferred form of cleaner, cheaper energy for both personal and industrial use.
Ogbonnaya Orji, the executive secretary, NEITI, pointed out that Nigeria had the largest gas reserves in Africa and the ninth-largest globally with gas reserves of over 200 trillion cubic feet (tcf), noting that for the gas utilisation policy of the Federal Government to work, there is a compelling need for deliberate ambitious investment in gas infrastructure.
This, he said, would include investments in specific connectivity across upstream facilities to processing, power plants, and other end users.
“The network code provides a framework through third-party access to resolve some of the connectivity issues, but to a large extent, achieving the desired gas expansion will require an estimated $20bn annually to bridge Nigeria’s gas infrastructure. Given the shrinking fossil fuel investment landscape, clarity is required of the infrastructure to be prioritised,’’ Ogbonnaya added.
According to the NEITI boss, the Petroleum Industry Act provided the most significant progress for the gas sector in strengthening governance and providing fiscal frameworks for the sector’s growth,
Ogbonnaya also implored the government to put a national gas utilisation policy in place, stating that such policy would clear on the specific roles of the industry, government, and investors in implementing the plan.
Louis Ogbeifun, the executive director, African Initiative for Transparency, Accountability and Responsible Leadership (AFRITAL), called on the federal government to increase its crude oil production in the short run beyond the current level, and diversify the investment in other alternative sources.
“Nigeria’s focus on using gas as a sustainable energy alternative is capital-intensive. It has been speculated that Nigeria would need over $1tn to achieve the 2060 zero-emission targets,” Ogbeifun stated, adding that citizens must be worried about how to fund gas projects in a manner that would be cost-effective.