Nigeria Positioning to Become Alternative Gas Supplier to Europe – Sylva

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By Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme

…says the new policy from the European Union (EU) labeling gas and nuclear power as green energy was a ‘win-win’ for Europe and Africa.

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva has said that Nigeria is positioning herself to become an alternative gas supplier to Europe, adding that the country was planning to ramp up her gas production from the current eight billion standard cubic feet (8bscf) per day to 12.2bscf.

However, the minister urged banks and investment houses in Europe to reduce their current discriminative investment decisions against oil and gas development projects and make funding available to Nigeria to enable more gas production for the continent.

Sylva stated this on Tuesday while speaking during a ministerial panel session at the just concluded Gastech Exhibition and Conference 2022 in Fiera Milano, Italy.

He insisted that the EU must provide the appropriate policy framework that enables investments in oil and gas from European investors and financial institutions.

According to the minister, the new policy from the European Union (EU) labeling gas and nuclear power as green energy was a ‘win-win’ for Europe and Africa.

The EU Parliament in July 2021 approved the proposal to give a sustainable finance label to investments in gas and nuclear power, paving the way for new investments toward energy self-sufficiency, which was adjudged crucial to resolving the energy crisis in Europe resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war.

Sylva said, “Today, we are seeing that gas is weaponized and every country requires some alternative supply. Nigeria is positioning itself to become an alternative supplier to Europe. We are already working with Algeria to build the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline that will take our gas to Europe.

“We are also having a partnership with Morocco to extend the West African gas pipeline to Morocco and the Mediterranean which will take gas to Europe. We are already working with Algeria to build the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline that will take our gas to Europe.

“It is a win-win for all of us and it’s in their interest to reduce this discriminative investment that the European banks are doing.

“We can see now that gas will not be wished away just now and gas will stay for a longer period and it’s in our collective interest for us to provide the funding for gas.”

The minister maintained that Nigeria needs collaboration, funding, and technology from Europe, noting that by the time all these were achieved, Nigeria’s gas potential will be unlocked and more gas exported to European nations.

Currently, Nigeria’s proven gas reserve stands at 209.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) and over 600tcf unproven, according to the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

With the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) now in place, Sylva said there would be more exploration for gas and that Nigeria will be able to increase her proven gas reserves to over 600tcf and become one of the biggest players in gas soon.

He stated that the country would become one of the major players in the gas market as the federal government was taking some bold steps as well as increasing investments in liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Speaking about Nigeria’s declaration of 2021 – 2030 as the ‘Decade of Gas’, he said Nigeria is focusing on deepening gas investments.

The minister revealed that Nigeria was currently producing about 22 million tonnes of LNG and increasing it to 30 million tonnes with the NLNG Train 7 currently under construction.

The Train 7 construction has reached 30 percent completion, as disclosed recently by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Wabote.

Sylva also revealed that the government was planning to increase the country’s gas production which stands at eight billion standard cubic feet (bscf) per day to about 12.2bscf.

“We are also exploring opportunities on hydrogen and NNPC is embarking on some hydrogen projects.

“We are also looking at investing in Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) to clean our hydrocarbons. For us, we believe that is the way to go,” the minister added