By Clara Nwachukwu
ITALY-based, Eni said it is currently implementing multiple strategies for the development of gas in Nigeria, through its local unit, the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC.
Given Nigeria’s vast gas resources reputed to be one of the largest in the world with estimated 187 trillion cubic feet reserves, the company argued that gas development is one of the key drivers for growing the economy.
Broaching the argument at the just-concluded, Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference, NOG 2011, the Managing Director, NAOC, Mr Ciro Antonio Pagano, said, “The full development of the gas market will significantly contribute to: improving the socio-economic development of the country; reduce environment pollution and eliminate gas flaring.”
Notwithstanding the fact that demand for natural gas has grown across all the markets in Nigeria – domestic, regional and export, Pagano, however, noted that the sector is yet to realize its full potential.
He, therefore, urged the country to maximize the economic multiplier effect of its domestic gas, while also optimizing its share and competitiveness I the export market.
Accordingly, he said that Agip is implementing its multi-strategy through various projects such as gas supply to both its Okpai and Rivers State power plants and the Eleme Petrochemical Complx for industrial users, as well as through completed and ongoing projects, including the Ebocha oil centre gas recovery, Idu, Akri and Ogbainbiri domestic gas supply.
With these projects, he said the “NAOC Joint Venture, JV domestic gas supply will reach 350 million standard cubic feet per day by 4Q 2011, with the aim of achieving zero flare by the end of 2012.”
Gas flaring remains a big challenge in Nigeria’s petroleum operations, with government shifting flare out deadlines so many times such that it has lost its relevance, to the chagrin of environment activists, who accuse government of lack of serious in protecting the ecosystem of its oil and gas region in the Niger Delta.
In view of growing demand, Pagano argued that there are significant opportunities for future growth in Nigeria, noting that “The main demand is expected to come from power generation, but also commercial sector such as petrochemical, fertilizer, steel, cement and aluminum.”
He further said that the company also envisages gas as a catalyst for the success of Nigerian Content, as availability and supply will create new and diversified opportunities for the industrial sector growth and overall economic development.
As a result, he called on government to increase spending on gas while also approving additional projects as well as fast-tracking the approval process by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/ National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NNPC/NAPIMS to boost projects development.