Nigeria to shift attention to gas – Buhari

*Buhari arrives Tehran for the GECF summit.

*Buhari arrives Tehran for the GECF summit.

*Says falling crude prices affecting economy

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

25 November 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has given strong indication of his administration’s plan to shift focus to gas production in the face of a perennial fall in crude oil prices in the international market.

Buhari, in the meantime, has called on the leadership of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, GECF, to sustain the pricing mechanism of gas in the international market to the advantage of its members.

The president noted that Nigeria has channeled its gas resources into appropriate areas for development of its economy, urging the member-countries to show mutual technical and economic cooperation amongst themselves.

President Buhari, who spoke while delivering his speech at the ongoing 3rd Summit of GECF in Tehran, Republic of Iran, expressed the hope that the nation’s proven gas reserve base currently put at 188 Trillion Cubic Feet could actually be in excess of 600 Trillion Cubit Feet when developed.

He stressed that Nigeria remained the hub for natural gas supply in West African sub region with the construction of 681 kilometer West African Gas Pipiline which currently transmits gas from the country to neighboring countries of Benin, Togo and Ghana.

According to him, “The stability of the energy and financial market is critical to ensuring investments in current and future natural gas projects. It is therefore imperative that the GECF plays a significant role towards energy security by driving the formulation of a sustainable pricing mechanism that will guarantee fair and reasonable for both producers and consumers.”

The president who noted the need to deploy research and development initiatives towards technology innovations in exploration and development processing, logistics and marketing for the benefit of member countries also called for collective effort to halt gas flaring.

The president also decried the dwindling oil prices which he said has affected the income of the Country.
Earlier, during a meeting with Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, assured the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, GECF, of its continuous support as it struggles to surmount the challenges that the global oil and gas industry is facing.

The President noted that trying times call for more cooperation and coordination among Member Countries, while thanking President Hassan Rouhani of Iran for the invitation to discuss issues affecting the GECF and reaffirm commitment to the objectives of the Forum.

Also speaking earlier, the Chairman of the forum and President of Iran earlier called for cooperation of member states to enable them benefit maximumly from the natural resources

Similarly, the Secretary to the Forum, Seyed Mohammad Hossein Adeli, disclosed to the Forum that Azerbaijan has indicated to part of the forum as an observer nation.

He underscored the need for economic ties and cooperation amongst the members-countries.
Leaders of member- countries who attended the summit were Presidents of Russia, Venezuela, Equatorial Guinea, Algeria, Bolivia and Nigeria.

President Buhari is expected back today after other series of meetings.

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