As the EU looks for alternatives to declining gas supplies from Russia, Nigeria’s Ministry of Petroleum Resources says it has a number of enablers and initiatives to fill the gap and elevate the country’s oil and gas industry. nation to greater heights.

The enablers for realizing the potential of the gas sector include the development of critical infrastructure and systems, such as the declaration of the Gas Decade.

In March 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari declared from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2030 as “The decade of gas development for Nigeria”, mainly to establish the roadmap towards a gas-powered economy by 2030.

Others are the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline, the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP), the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP); and the Nigerian Gas Transmission Network Code projects.

The EU, in collaboration with the Federal Government, has also expressed renewed interest in increasing the financing of gas projects in Nigeria to ensure that local demands are met and foreign exchange is obtained from the international market.

For that effect, Chief Timipré SylvaMinister of State for Petroleum Resources, received and discussed with an EU delegation headed by Mr. Matthew BaldwimDeputy Director General, EU Energy Platform Working Group, on technology and policy partnership to drive the project forward.

The minister said the development would accelerate the EU’s desire to secure alternatives to the gas it imports from Russia and enhance Nigeria’s presence in the international oil and gas market.

“We have always said that we are committed to gas as a transition fuel and today we speak the same language with the EU”, the media quoted Sylva as saying.

As Nigeria targets the European and Trans-Saharan markets with the ongoing construction of the AKK pipeline, the minister has said that the project was underway and would present a great opportunity for Nigeria and other countries to access the European market.

The $2.8 billion project being run by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) is the largest single gas project in Nigeria and is expected to boost domestic gas consumption, power generation and industrialization.

When completed, the 614-kilometre pipeline will be the largest domestic gas transmission infrastructure in Nigeria and is designed to stimulate domestic industrial growth. The pipeline will be delivered by a consortium of local and international engineering firms.

This is also good for manufacturers because they now have an incentive to produce more as people will be tied to and have access to gas and then invest in a gas based industry. The project will also completely eliminate gas flaring in the country,” he said.

To further enhance the pursuit of gas development, the Federal Government recently moved to fix the critical missing link in its effort to develop the country’s gas sector with the inauguration of the Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund Governing Council. and Downstream (MDGIF).

The nine-member Council will mobilize funds to provide critical infrastructure for the gas industry and identify relevant stakeholders who can increase domestic use of natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and automotive gas.

The council will also develop a roadmap to transform gas into a value-added product in Nigeria.

Sylva said that while programs are in place to achieve the decade of gas initiatives and develop Nigeria’s huge gas potential, the missing link remains a shortage of basic gas infrastructure to fuel the initiative.

The minister said that one of the main causes of low gas production, gas flaring and low domestic gas utilization was the infrastructure deficit in the country.

He said that it is estimated that more than 20 billion dollars a year will be required for the next 10 years to close these gaps.

The Fund, established under Section 52 of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), is a Directorate of the Nigerian Intermediate and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), while Section 52(3) provides that the Governing Council oversees and makes investment decisions for the Fund.

As Directorate within NMDPRA, the Minister said the Fund is expected to benefit from its internal reporting, operational and organizational processes adding that, in accordance with the PIA, 2021, the Council will “oversee and make investment decisions for the Fund”.

Similarly, in a recent meeting with the US Presidential Special Envoy on Climate Change, Senator John KerrySylva also sought US and global community support for funding and technology to address climate change and the transition to cleaner energy.

The meeting was also an impetus for Nigeria to intensify its efforts to reduce gas flaring and venting, and explore the opportunity to explore the international market.

Also in pursuit of the EU gas market, the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) project recently received a boost following the signing of a MoU by the partners and five West African countries.

The NNPC Ltd, the Moroccan National Office for Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), the National Oil Companies and commercial entities of The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone executed the MoU in the Moroccan capital, Rabat.

The NMGP is a 5,600 km gas pipeline project that crosses 13 countries, namely Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal and Mauritania to Morocco and on to Europe.

In September 2022, NNPC Ltd. and ONHYM signed a MoU with the ECOWAS Commission, while in October 2022 it executed a MoU with Petrosen of Senegal and SMH of Mauritania, all in the NMGP Project.

mele kyariGroup CEO, NNPC Ltd. during the signing of the MoU said it represented a significant step in fulfilling the federal government’s push to tap Nigeria’s abundant gas resources through NMGP.

Kyari said that other benefits of the project include the creation of wealth and improvement in the standard of living of the citizenry, and greater diplomatic cooperation while fighting desertification; among others.

He described natural gas as a critical fuel in the transition to net zero, adding that NNPC Ltd. was well positioned to advance the NMGP project by leveraging its experience and technical capabilities.

“NNPC Ltd will facilitate the continued supply of gas and provide other enablers, such as the land required for the installation of the first compressor station in Nigeria, which is among 13 stations allocated along the route of the pipeline.” he said.

Similarly, Kyari, speaking about the AKK project, explained that the pipeline, which was also conceived to connect demand from the northern part of the country with supply from the south, would be the largest infrastructure development in the country’s recent history. .

The AKK pipeline project is itself a section of an ambitious pipeline project to supply gas to Europe via the proposed Trans Sahara pipeline and Nigeria Morocco pipelines.

“It will also mark a significant change in the nation’s energy policy; of income, export programs directed to domestic supply programs focused on development”. he said.

Some oil and gas experts also lent their voices to meet Nigeria’s gas demand in the EU, which they said could be made possible through the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline project.

Mr Olabode SowunmiHe said that the industry, particularly the gas sector, offered Nigeria a very clear path to industrialization.

Sowunmi, Senior Legislative Assistant to the Senate President on Gas and Power, called for consistency in Nigeria’s Gas Master Plan, especially on projects like AKK, the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline and the West African Gas Pipeline.