By Sebastine Obasi & Mike Eboh
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu yesterday said that Nigeria will award contracts for its flared gas by the third quarter of the year.
Kachikwu who stated this in a media parley in Abuja, also said that Nigeria is losing about $1 billion annually to gas flare.
According to the Minister, the country had already eliminated 75 percent of flared gas and was on track to eliminate flaring entirely by 2020, as more than 200 companies submitted bids for the right to commercialise the gas. However, he did not mention the names of the companies. Speaking on ‘The Journey So Far and the Next Line of Action for the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, NGFCP’, Kachikwu noted that the country had not used the tonnes of gas resources it has to achieve industrialization and agricultural development, especially through fertilizer production. He bemoaned the fact that a significant volume of gas produced in the country was flared, depriving the country the benefits that could have been accrued from the resources.
He said, “Premised on the foregoing, the policy position of His Excellency, President Muhammad Buhari is that gas flaring is totally unacceptable. In this regard, the Federal Government of Nigeria, FGN, initiated a number of actions to reaffirm its commitment to ending the practice of gas flaring in our oil fields. “Furthermore, in recognition that flared gas could be harnessed to stimulate economic growth, drive investments and provide jobs in oil producing communities and indeed for Nigerians through the utilisation of widely available innovative technologies, the Federal Executive Council in June 2016, approved the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, NGFCP.”
In another development, Kachikwu said that the federal government is working on a legislation, through the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to compel petroleum products marketers to set up gas filling plants in all their petrol stations across the country.
He stated this in Abuja, during the commissioning of Nigerian Army Welfare Limited by Guarantee, NAWLG/Gasland Nigeria Limited, Liquefied Petroleum Gas plant in Mambila Barracks, Abuja, and the launch of LPG Micro Distribution Centres in Nigeria Army barracks and cantonments.
Kachikwu stated that the directive was aimed at deepening the use of LPG across the country, in addition to promoting the issue of clean energy as well creating employment opportunities.
The minister explained that the regulation would increase cooking gas selling points across the country by about 10,000, which is about the same number of filling stations in Nigeria.
He also disclosed that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, was already working with stakeholders across the LPG value chain, and had set a target to build at least one gas filling plants across all the 774 local government areas in the country within the next three years.
Kachikwu noted that the ministry had already engaged LPG cylinder manufacturers, encouraging them through special funding and other incentives to increase their production capacity, especially as this is critical to LPG penetration.
He said, “We are working with the LPG cylinder manufacturers. We are giving them strong presidential backed incentives to enable them produce LPG cylinders in this country. About four of them are getting facilities from the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, NCMBD, through the N 200million facility we have. They are getting import exemption for materials to be assembled for the plants.