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FG to prioritize investments in gas pipelines for local consumption – Minister

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has said a significant network of additional gas pipelines remains a priority for the government as it thinks of strategies to make gas available and affordable for power generation and transportation.

According to him, substituting traditional white products with gas will cushion the effects of deregulation, foster human capital development through new investments, and create enormous job opportunities for Nigerians.

Already, he noted that efforts are underway to stabilise the price of gas in the country, especially by local producers.The Minister stated this at a webinar organized by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), tagged, “Economic Development and Environmental Stewardship: Opportunities and Challenges for the Energy Industry.”

He said the flag-off of the construction of the AKK pipelines is the first step in this direction, adding that the growth of the Nigerian economy is hinged on constant power supply, hence, collaboration with stakeholders would aid the conversion of gas being flared to energy for Nigerians at affordable rates.

“Therefore a significant network of additional gas pipelines is a priority. The development of an optimal framework for electricity generation based on natural gas would create a strong basis for providing electricity to all Nigerians,” he said.

He noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has made indigenous participation in the oil and gas value chain an imperative, adding that with the pandemic, encouragement of local industry participation is now an element of national strategy and sustainability.

He said the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), would encourage further participation of Nigerians in various oil and gas activities, and with the declaration of 2020 as a year of gas now being pursued through the national gas expansion programme to deepen penetration and avail Nigerians options for alternative fuels and a cleaner environment.

He said the current challenges in the oil and gas industry is a wakeup call for Nigeria to increase efforts and reduce its dependence on oil, maintaining that Nigeria must rejig its petroleum industry and energy framework to chart a new course.
Speaking, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, charged industry operators to think of how best to sustain the sector, maintaining that deepening gas penetration is the way to go.

He added that plans are on-going to ensure a full scale rehabilitation of the refineries that are owned by the national oil company by encouraging every participant to establish refineries in Nigeria.

“What Covid-19 has thrown at us is that we must think of the sustainability of the oil and gas industry. The industry must focus on people, partnership, profits and ultimately prosperity. There is a profound opportunity that Covid-19 has brought to us. We have seen how collaborations work and how automation has helped processes to be easy and how we can reduce operational costs,” he said.

The Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Sarki Auwalu, said the theme of the event was apt, as the global oil and gas industry is changing rapidly, maintaining that the Nigerian oil and gas industry must respond and adapt to global trends accordingly to survive and remain competitive.

“Change is not only constant, but fast growing and dynamic. The Covid-19 and oil price crash have clearly demonstrated the urgent need for new thinking and approach or strategic repositioning and business optimization in the industry,” he stated.
He said the Department is focusing on four strategic areas to reposition the industry, which include cost control and management, strategic partnerships, vertical integration and diversification and portfolio rationalization, and operational resilience.

Delivering her keynote, the President, SPE, Shauna Noonan, said energy transition has been misunderstood in many parts of the world, saying that there is a young generation that believes that there is no future for oil and gas.

She said the change in energy landscape is not about the elimination of certain energy sources, but a blend of these sources to invest in clean energy collaboration, developing and ensuring technology in innovation across all forms of energy.
The Chairman, SPE, Joe Nwakwue, said the oil and gas industry is facing significant headwinds from a push for environmentally cleaner fuels to producing cheaper oil and gas products.

He said the challenging scenario presents great opportunities, saying that how the industry addresses the challenge is fundamental to its survival and sustainability.

“At the core of SPE is our continuous emphasis on capacity development and this is reflected in the training and short courses being offered at this virtual summit,” he said.

Source: The Guardian