$40bn Investments Needed for Nigeria’s Gas Plan, Says NNPC

BY: Emmanuel Addeh

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that the Nigerian oil and gas industry will require at least $40 billion in direct investments in basic infrastructure to achieve the federal government’s much talked-about about “Decade of Gas.”

Also, the Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Dr. Sanusi Barkindo, said the cartel’s latest assessment showed that capital investments in the upstream of the oil and gas industry fell by 30 per cent in 2020.

NNPC said yesterday that it was targeting between 7.4 billion cubic feet to 10 billion cubit feet of gas in the next couple of years, compared to its current 1.6 bcf supply capacity.

Speaking at a virtual forum organised by the Association of Local Distributors of Gas (ALDG), tagged “The Decade of Gas: Unlocking Opportunities in the Domestic Gas Market,” the Chief Operating Officer, Gas and Power, NNPC, Mr Yusuf Usman, stated that a major constraint in achieving local content through the programme is the difficult conditions placed by foreign lenders.

However, he stated that the corporation expects to grow about 10 gas-based industries as it works towards the 10-year target.

He added that the figure on the quantum of funds needed is based on the submissions NNPC has received from potential investors.

In addition, he stated that about 39 thermal power plants were being targeted as opposed to the current 33.

According to him, by the end of this year, the NNPC is projecting an added gas sales of about 600 mmscfd, compared to its current 1.6 bcf to hit 2.2 bcf by the end of 2021.

He said: “In terms of benefits, we will generate 45,000 megawatts of power in terms of gas use, creating massive employment and import substitution.

“There are changes we need to look at to actualise the decade of gas. We see the huge amount of investment, both Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) that will come into the country upward of $40 billion or much more than that in order to achieve all the aggressive plans that that are outlined in the decade of gas.

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“This investment will come in the upstream, midstream and downstream, but there are challenges as well because there have been a lot of announcements around funding for fossil fuels and these are some of the things we have to look at as we go forward and we need to figure out the announcement vis-a-vis the foreign estimate that we expect.”

He added that the corporation has a supply plan to deliver up to 4.5 bcf of gas into the market, while going forward, the country expects 7.4 bcf of gas.

According to Usman, there are urgent plans to complete ongoing gas projects in the country, including the AKK project , which he described as one of the most aggressive and biggest pipeline infrastructure ever embarked upon by the country. The pipeline spans 614 km.

He said all the gas activities going on around the country were being handled by local construction companies and local providers of services due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Going forward into 10 years, we expect to do another big pipeline that will take up gas from south, all the way into Ajaokuta and possibly we extend it all the way to Maiduguri,” he said.

He expressed the hope that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be passed this year, noting that the corporation is ready to adjust to the changes that the law will impose.

Usman stated that by the corporation’s projection, demand for gas to generate electricity in the country will consume between 60 to 70 per cent of the entire commodity produced, with the ongoing plan to generate 45,000MW.

“The other challenge we have is the liquidity in the power sector, and there’s a lot of work going on because it is a very huge market. If you see the demand projections that we have done, it is going to consume 60 to 70 per cent of the gas that we have.

“Not only that; without power, all the development programmes we are thinking of will be a mirage. It is an inevitable equation that we have to solve to move towards development and issues around it have to be resolved,” he stated.

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Usman urged policy makers to answer the questions surrounding gas pricing, since Nigeria is interested in using gas as a source of revenue as well as balancing between investment and local content drive.

“All these FDI come with conditionality before taking the money. That will put a limit to our local content drive. As you all know, the restrictions by itself affect the kind of projections that we look at,” he added.

He stated that if Nigeria will achieve the decade of gas, it must transit to a willing-buyer willing-seller market.

Besides, there must be a document with timelines as well as defined investment strategies on the announcement that is being made about the restriction for fossil fuel to achieve the decade of gas.

Barkindo: Oil Industry’s Upstream Spending Slumped 30% in 2020

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Dr. Sanusi Barkindo, has said that the cartel’s latest assessment shows that capital investments in the upstream of the oil and gas industry fell by 30 per cent in 2020.

He said at the first meeting of the OPEC-Africa Energy Dialogue that despite that, crude oil will continue to be relevant, especially in Africa.

Describing the future of Africa’s oil industry as bright and the opportunities vast, Barkindo stated that the continent is currently home to five of the top 30 oil-producing countries in the world.

According to him, oil is expected to retain the largest share of the global energy mix throughout the forecast period, providing nearly 28 per cent of global requirements in 2045, followed by gas at around 25 per cent and coal at roughly 20 per cent.

In 2019, Barkindo stated that the continent produced 8.5 mb/d of oil, which is around nine per cent of world’s output.

He said at the end of 2019, Africa was estimated to have proven oil reserves amounting to around 126 billion barrels,with Nigeria holding the lion’s share with 36.9 billion barrels, representing 29 per cent of Africa’s reserves.

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Barkindo said demand in developing regions, including Africa, with its rapidly growing population and dynamic demographical shifts, would be intensified, and all forms of energy would be needed, not only to support the post-pandemic recovery but to satisfy long-term energy requirements.

“One major issue looming in the long-term horizon is the lack of adequate industry investment.
“According to our latest assessments, upstream capital spending is estimated to have fallen in 2020 by a staggering 30 per cent or more.

“Our 2020 World Oil Outlook estimates that $12.6 trillion will be required between now and 2045 in the upstream, midstream and downstream.

“We must continue to advocate a turnaround in this very upsetting trend. The very future of our industry is at stake,” he stated.

According to him, oil and gas will continue to be a vital part of the energy needs to ensure future demand is met, adding that policies must change in that regard.

He stated that another issue of utmost concern in Africa is the scourge of energy poverty, which continues to impact millions across the continent.

Citing OPEC data, Barkindo said an estimated 47 per cent of the population in Sub Saharan Africa had no electricity and approximately 85 per cent of people lacked access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking.

He stated that considering the richness of the continent’s resources, both conventional and renewable, this situation is hard to accept.

He urged all stakeholders to unite on the issues to ensure an equitable distribution of energy that leaves no one behind.

“When all is said and done, access to energy, like education and health care, should not be considered a luxury but a human right.

“OPEC will continue to work closely with our member countries to advocate for real and lasting change on this issue,” he added.

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