Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, says Nigeria has the capacity to become the highest producer of petrochemicals in the world.
This, according to him, is possible with the implementation of the Decade of Gas Development initiative,
Our correspondent reports that Sylva spoke on Tuesday at at the virtual Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) 2021 Business Forum and Annual General Meeting.
The forum had as its theme, “Petroleum Industry Act (PIA): Progress and Opportunities in the Decade of Gas.”
Sylva, represented by his Technical Adviser on Gas Business and Policy Implementation; Mr Justice Derefaka, said Nigeria had 206.53tcf of proven gas reserves as at Jan. 1, 2021.
He said the declaration of the Year 2021 to Year 2030 as the Decade of Gas Initiative’’ by President Muhammadu Buhari was aimed at transforming Nigeria to a gas-powered economy.
The minister said: “The Decade Of Gas is a decade of elimination of gas flaring, a decade of more domestic Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), and a decade of fully gas-powered economy.
“For us as a nation, natural gas is power. It is transport, as in natural gas vehicles (what is popularly known as Auto-gas).
“Gas is petrochemicals-feed stock. Gas is manufacturing and industries, it is also food, as components of gas are used to make fertiliser, helping to feed millions of people
“The Nigerian agricultural sector, probably the largest Gross Domestic Product contributor to our economy, would benefit immensely from greater availability of fertiliser using gas as feedstock.
“Considering the low nitrate concentration in our soil, and gas being the key feedstock for nitrate-based fertilizer, developing the gas industry could contribute to enhancing our food security as a nation.
“The decade of gas initiative is to ensure Nigeria has the highest petrochemical production capacity in the world and to catalyse sufficient changes that will position Nigeria as the largest urea manufacturing hub in the world.”
Sylva, however, noted that achieving the objective required collaboration between all stakeholders.
He said government on its part would continue to embark on policies and programmes geared towards utilisation of Nigeria’s gas resources for national development.
The minister said the ongoing construction of the 614 kilometers Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipelines and the NLNG Train 7 Project would deepen gas utilisation in the country.
Sylva said the signing of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by the president on Aug. 16 would put an end to the $15 billion oil and gas investments lost annually by Nigeria.
He said: “The PIA 2021 has created a critical foundation for the much-desired industrialisation and economic development of this country.
“It also has generous incentives to enable development, distribution, penetration, and utilisation of gas.
“The PIA is part of the FG’s resolve and commitment to building a competitive & resilient petroleum industry that will attract investment, improve revenue base, create jobs and support the economic diversification agenda.”