The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said that there was a need to expand the country’s gas exploration efforts in its sedimentary oil and gas basins in order to increase the product’s reserve.
According to the corporation, out of a total of 209 oil and gas open acreages for allocation across different terrains in the country, 126 blocks are located in the North, 34 in Niger Delta, 12 in the Anambra Basin, and 37 are situated in the Dahomey Basin.
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated that although the country currently had the largest proven gas reserve in Africa, the resource would be depleted in a couple of years if the country failed to shore up its reserve.
Baru, who spoke during the 10th International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Gas Association in Abuja on Monday, stated that in order to avert a situation where the country would run out of the gas reserve, there was a need for the corporation to expand exploration in the already identified oil and gas basins.
On the 126 blocks in the North, the NNPC GMD stated that 28 were in the Sokoto Basin, 40 in the Chad Basin, 41 in the Benue Trough and 17 in the Bida Basin.
Baru stated that Nigeria currently held the ninth largest gas reserve in the world with 192 trillion cubic feet, but explained that with the present daily production of eight billion standard cubic feet, the country’s gas “will only last for 65 years without additional reserves.”
He said, “At the projected 2025 gas production of 15bscfd, the nation’s gas will only last for 36 years without additional reserves. To increase our gas reserves, therefore, we need to expand exploration for gas in these identified basins.”
Baru told delegates at the conference that the investment opportunities in Nigeria’s gas processing, transmission and general infrastructure development was $51bn, adding that growth of the sector was anchored on growing the power and gas-based industries.
In his address, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, announced that the government had developed a draft national gas policy, which would be released to stakeholders for their inputs.
He said the policy would seek to promote a competitive business environment for both current and new investors.
According to him, most of the investment in the gas sector will be drawn from private investors, adding that the government would set the requirements and support the investors with appropriate interventions to bring their projects to fruition.
Kachikwu said, “Our policy challenge, therefore, is to develop a policy and develop the institutional, regulatory and fiscal framework that is attractive to the private sector. Over the years, there has been a total neglect of this sector, we really have not focused sufficiently on gas production.
“All of those times it had been oil production. Having regard to the effect of the recession today, let us develop the twin windows of economic earnings in this country. Let us move to gas.”