Although Nigeria has set a target of ending gas flaring by 2020, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said the country’s infrastructure gap remain a critical challenge to government’s gas commercialisation agenda.
Kachikwu, who told The Guardian in an interview last month that supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), has significantly increased nationwide, noted that until potential investments in infrastructure become a reality, the opportunities in the country’s gas resources could remain elusive.
The Minister said with current investment in the 614km-40-inch Ajaokuta-Kaduan-Kano (AKK) Pipeline, Nigeria would add about 3,500 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the existing 7,000MW, and address challenges around stranded gas.
He said though the country has drastically reduced the level of gas flaring, government would have done better if infrastructure challenge was not a barrier. Kachickwu said the sector has improved availability of gas to power plants by 16 per cent over the last two to three years, and could have done more if there was infrastructure.
“We need investment in infrastructure. In the developed countries, it is not government money that brings infrastructure, it is investment. This is serious enough to occupy a minister’s full time to get the policy and approval in place, and driving round the whole world to find that money,” he stated.
Kachikwu said a considerable number of investments are currently awaiting final investment decision (FID) to bring transformative investment to Nigeria, and until the barriers are properly addressed, delivering value for gas could remain a challenge.
Speaking on LPG/cooking gas penetration, he said: “We need to get to a point where it will become so easy to find cylinders, so easy for virtual gas supply in filling stations that the market woman has no zeal to touch firewood. In some urban areas, there may be town-planning policies to connect gas pipe to houses as it is done abroad.
“For instance, we can bring the gas to the Lagos doorstep, but getting to all citizens is going to depend on investors; investors, who are ready to invest in gas filling plants, and who are ready to put in their filling stations and so on.“What is important is the consciousness. The amount of consciousness that we have raised has forced oil companies to take notice that time is running out,” he said.
In this regard, he disclosed that the Ministry is in talk with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to provide support loans to people, who are investing in LPG penetration.He added that discussion is also ongoing with the Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), to do more in terms of local capture of opportunities.