The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) last week awarded licences to investors to enable the country to take advantage of its vast gas deposit, almost seven years after the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration commenced Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP).
Gbenga Komolafe, Chairman, NUPRC, said the award of licenses Coming at a time of energy crisis and transition and on the backdrop of the government’s decade of gas policy, the development seeks to tame decades of gas flaring in the oil-producing region and enable the federation to generate billions of dollars in investment and signature bonuses.
He said the initiative targets more investment and employment opportunities and encourages increased capital inflow to the Nigerian oil and gas sector, adding that the value derivable is multifaceted and aligns with the focus areas of the country’s sustainable development goals.
According to him, the development is directly targeted at reducing environmental pollution, enhancing Nigeria’s energy transition plans and improving infrastructure and revenue.
“This is a very defining moment in the history of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry and being a part of this journey is by no means a trivial task. This is especially so because the NGFCP checks the box on many fronts.
“Apart from forestalling the negative impacts of gas flaring on the environment, the programme also ends the wanton wastage of our premium economic resources. In today’s carbon-constrained world, where fossil fuel is becoming less and less popular in view of issues of climate change, natural gas has assumed a stature of significant importance as the bridging fuel for many oil and gas producing nations,” Komolafe said.
On the projected revenue, he said: “What we can tell you is that we aim to generate billions of dollars from the programme. So that at the end of the exercise, we’ll be able to get a full account of that revenue from the programme to the government.”
While Nigeria currently has over 208 trillion standard cubic feet of gas, harnessing the resources for national development has been a mirage. The current reserve remains a product of accidental find while flaring persists.
The World Bank has said Russia, Iraq, Iran, the United States, Algeria, Venezuela and Nigeria remained the top seven gas-flaring countries in the last nine years.
The Bretton Woods institution said the seven countries produced 40 per cent of the world’s oil each year but account for roughly two-thirds, which is 65 per cent of global gas flaring.
After approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the gas commercialization programme was launched by the ministry of petroleum resources on December 13, 2016, but remained elusive for over seven years.
Executive Commissioner, Development and Production, NUPRC, Dr. Nuhu Habib said the award of licences to bidders would be done in about two months going to the Commission’s plan.
He disclosed that about 10 per cent of the gas currently being flared in the country would be taken out through the gas commercialisation plan.