Lagos — Engr. Justice Opelamina Derefaka; Technical Adviser on Gas Business & Policy Implementation to the Minister of States and Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has called on gas industry players and other private sector players to put economic diversification on the front burner, and be prepared to “walk the talk of economic diversification’ in line with the National Gas Policy, NGP.
While delivering a panel talk on ‘Gas Market Development – the Opportunities, Drivers & Challenges’ at the Business Day Energy Series’ ‘Nigeria at 60: Harnessing Nigeria’s Energy Potential for the Future’ on Tuesday, Justice Derefaka who also doubles as Program Manager- Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme, NGFCP; Program Manager– AutoGas, National Gas Expansion Program, NGEP, said the time was right for Nigeria to make a paradigm shift from an oil nation to exploring her huge gas reserves.
According to him, Nigeria’s proven gas reserve (203 trillion cubic feet) indicates an inherent possibility of exploiting its gas reserves for at least the next 100 years with the potential for a further 600tcf in unproven reserve.
“Africa currently holds a 6% share of global marketed gas production. That share will rise to more than 10% by 2050 if not more, and a significant share of the increase in the marketed production will come from Mozambique and Nigeria”, he said.
He explained that Nigeria has an opportunity in the gas space to become more self-sufficient, more agile, innovative, and stronger, adding that over the long-term, economic recovery, together with the supportive gas policy will drive the long-term growth of gas demand in-country, and support the execution of gas supply chain projects.
“Nigeria should and will indeed pursue its long-term ambitions to develop as a key hub for natural gas supply”.
“Apart from domestic self-sufficiency, we need to state unequivocally that if the world needs and wants gas, Nigeria should be a responsible and leading supplier going forward”, he said.
He opined that as the world is gradually turning away from crude oil to gas to drive their economies, collective efforts, including putting all machinery in place to make gas a critical catalyst to Nigeria’s economic development should be a priority.
To Justice Derefaka, the approach to achieving economic development going forward should include the diversification of economy, efficient management of revenues, and commitment to local value addition in the gas industry.
“Nigeria needs to use gas and invest in critical sectors of our economy such as education, health, infrastructure and agriculture to provide a solid base for industrialization, local value addition, economic development, and sustainable growth”.
“Gas has a leading role as a key enabler to the diversification and growth of Nigeria’s broader economy through adequate power generation, provision of feedstock for value-adding manufacturing, and increased government revenue from LNG”, he said.