By Ediri Ejoh
The Federal Government has been urged to deploy new strategy to unlock the potentials and maximize the use of the country’s available vast natural gas resources to improve the nation’s economy.
Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), Mr. Devakumar Edwin said there was the need to find ways to exploit and utilize Nigeria’s natural gas resources to impact positively on the nation’s economy.
Edwin, who was on a panel at a session of Bussinessday Newspaper’s Energy Series 2020 Virtual Conference with the theme: “Gas Market Development – the Opportunities, Drivers and Challenges,” emphasized the necessity for managers of the nation’s oil and gas sector to adding value to natural gas in order to transform Nigeria from exporter of raw materials to exporter of finished products.
According to him, adding value to natural gas would strengthen the petrochemical industry, thus making it possible for the country to change from exporting raw materials to value-add products supplier. “In the same vein, it will boost the economy and solve the ‘hydra – headed’ problem of unemployment in Nigeria with its multiplier employment effect”, he stated.
“The industry uses varieties of hydrocarbon feedstock from refinery and natural gas. One of the problems facing the industry is lack of reliable feedstock supplies.
“Nigeria has the potential to be a major petrochemicals producer. With proven gas reserves, not much has been accomplished with respect to the effective exploitation and utilization of this resource as most of the nation’s natural gas production has been liquefied for export.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, we produce raw materials and export to other countries. Our products are refined or manufactured and exported back into the continent. Really, the raw materials are taken out and value added and brought back to the continent.”
“Nigeria has done well in respect to the reduction of gas flaring to almost 10 per cent and exporting natural gas to generate revenue.
“But, our focus at Dangote is how to add value to the natural gas. After all, this Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) that is being imported by various countries is used as fixed stock. They use this natural gas to generate power, fuel and as feedstock. The value-added products are thereby exported to Nigeria.
“If you look at petrochemicals, we import almost all our petrochemicals into the country. Fertilizer, is also being imported into the country. So, if we focus on adding value to natural gas that we produce in the country and export the finished products, be it fertilizer, petrochemicals, our export revenue will be much larger.”
Edwin disclosed that Dangote Industries’ focus is to add value to the country’s gas resources through Dangote Subsea Gas Pipeline Project, which is expected to unlock significant gas supply for industrial activities and considerably reduce flaring in Nigeria.
Enumerating benefits of the pipeline project, the company stated: “The pipeline project will make gas readily available for commercial use; nullify the need for future gas import; lead to diversification of Nigeria’s economy; increase government revenue (and meet demand for domestic petrochemical products); ensure an increase in Forex from exports, and the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.”
He explained that the gas pipeline will help feed the Fertilizer plant, connect the Niger Delta to the Lekki free trade zone (LFTZ) in Lagos and also capture flared gases from offshore platforms in Nigeria to be monetized.
Enumerating benefits of the pipeline project to Nigeria economy, he stated: “The pipeline project will make gas readily available for commercial use; nullify the need for future gas import; lead to diversification of Nigeria’s economy; increase government revenue (and meet demand for domestic petrochemical products); ensure an increase in Forex from exports, and the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.”
The series was earlier declared opened by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Silva who stated all efforts being put in place by the government through provision of infrastructure meant to deepening the gas sub-sector of the oil and gas industry. He also cited the renew efforts being made to ensure the Petroleum Industry Bill is passed without further delay.