14 December 2014, Lagos – With no end in sight to the plummeting global oil price, major Gas producing countries across the World are rallying to consolidate on a formidable bloc to maximize their natural gas resources via enthronement of a stable and reliable gas market.There are indications that the producers who are uniting under the auspices of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, GECF, are impelled by the declining crude oil prices to strengthen the 15-year old Forum which had its inaugural session in Tehran, Iran and was attended by governments of Algeria, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Turkmenistan and Norway in May, 2001.
Few years later, countries like Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela, as well as Iraq, and the Netherlands as Observers joined the Forum.
The central mission and objective of the Forum from inception in accordance with the statute is to support the sovereign rights of member countries over their natural resources and other abilities “to independently plan and manage the sustainable, efficient and environmentally conscious development, use and conservation of natural gas resources for the benefit of their peoples”.
Nigeria with proven gas reserve of over 187 trillion cubic feet is seeking alternative markets for its LNG against the backdrop of growing competition amid declining demands from hitherto reliable off-takers in the Asia pacific zone as well as the US.
With recent surge in production of Nigeria’s gas to over 8 billion cubic feet per day, Nigeria is the eight largest producer of gas in the world and sixth largest gas supplier to Europe.
However close Industry watchers say that it would be in Nigeria’s interest to canvass its capacity to supporting the EU’s energy sector priorities as it relates to long- term security and diversification of gas supplies especially I the wake of volatile supply situation from Russia.
Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources and newly elected President of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke told journalists in an earlier interview that the Federal Government has earmarked significant investment to support expansion of the sector in the coming years.
“Though increasing domestic power generation through adequate supply of gas to power is a priority for the government, export capacity will also rapidly grow, particularly as new LNG projects are completed,” the Minister stated.