- EEI Wants Nigeria to Maximise Gas Resources
Nigeria has not maximised its huge natural gas resources for economic growth and development, the Director, Emerald Energy Institute, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Wumi Iledare, has said.
Iledare, who spoke at the third graduation and award ceremony of the EEI in Port Harcourt, noted that the persistent issue of inadequate gas for power generation had contributed to the poor electricity supply across the country.
He also observed that the country’s economy was still grappling with the impact of the drop in crude oil prices globally, “as assets divestment, low exploration and production activities and oil market glut became the order of the day.”
He decried the country’s heavy reliance on crude oil, saying, “It is ironic that Nigeria, often referred to as a gas province with little oil ‘droplets’ here and there in the inland basins, outer continental shelf and deep offshore, has not tapped gas to grow its economy.
“There is the constant issue of inadequate gas supply for energy generation; hence, there is no electricity to power the economy.”
The EEI boss observed that the nation was overly dependent on hydrocarbon production for revenue rather than for value creation.
Iledare stated that this dependence on a mono product remained a major hindrance to the country’s economic growth and development.
He added, “It has only created political elite with less consideration for the future and sustainability of the environment. Yet petroleum is an intergenerational energy resource for powering an economy with social, cultural and environmental implications.
“This dependence has made significant room for economic vulnerability to global energy price shocks, which the nation has had to grapple with perpetually. A typical example is how the rising United States unconventional shale production impacted negatively on the economy as the nation recorded a fall in its US oil export share.”
He said the impact of shale production on Nigeria forced the country to settle for auctioning its crude oil at the global market space at discounted price, reducing significantly government access to revenue from oil and gas, thereby affecting the economy negatively since 2013.
Iledare noted that thus far, the oil and gas business had not yielded the expected dividends.
He stated that the yearning for hard currency had thwarted the economic value and benefits that would have accrued if the focus had been on domestic value creation and spin-off midstream and downstream petroleum activities.
He, however, noted that the passing of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill by the 8th National Assembly marked the dawn of a new era in the oil and gas industry in the country.
He said, “Henceforth, the governance of the industry will be institutionalised as the days of personalising industry governance becomes a thing of the past.
“I am an optimist, when it comes to the future of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and dare to affirm that its future is bright given that the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea geologic settings are highly prospective; professionals in the industry in Nigeria are highly respected worldwide; Nigeria has a dynamic local content policy that has become a case study for emerging petroleum producing provinces in Africa and the newly launched oil and gas policy documents and prospective fiscal reform efforts certainly offer rays of hope.”