As a result of global realities, the Federal Government of Nigeria is driving towards making Natural gas a larger part of her energy mix as the country seeks to guarantee the sustainability of its energy supply and benefit from greater energy efficiency and reduce energy-related costs.
Statistics show that Nigeria has an estimated 182 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of proven gas reserves which is largely located in the Niger Delta.
It is in realisation of this fact that Nigeria’s government is keen to develop local utilisation of gas employing a range of available technologies.
Reports indicate that these technologies include gas to power using gas fed by transmission and distribution pipeline networks to supply combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT), compressed natural gas (CNG), gas to liquids (GTL) to supply transportation fuels, gas to fertilizer (GTF) and petrochemicals to support domestic industries, and export options involving liquefied natural gas (LNG), the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), and, in the future, other potentially large-scale export routes (e.g. to Europe through a Trans Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP).
Industry close watchers are of the view that the nation’s natural gas resources need to be more fully utilised to meet this rapidly increasing demand for energy, both domestically and in the developing world more generally.
Nigeria’s population is projected to exceed 200 million by 2030 and is at the centre of this growth in energy demand, which cannot be met by available oil resources alone.
According to BP’s Energy Outlook 2035, global energy consumption will grow by 41 percent by 2035, and 95 percent of this growth will come from the fast emerging economies like Nigeria.
Energy Experts indicate that the role of natural gas in the global energy market seems likely to also grow contributed by the sharp rise in proven conventional and unconventional gas reserves worldwide, and the greater importance and priority given by the major energy importing countries to security and diversification of supply.
According to them, “Natural gas transportation and storage is more complex than that of oil, and this contributed to its slow utilisation for a considerable period, Nigeria in particular. The global gas market has changed in the last couple of decades and it is currently experiencing rapid market expansion compared to other fossil fuels”
About 40 percent of Nigeria’s total proven gas reserves are classified as stranded gas, and they are available for exploitation. In addition, non-associated gas (NAG) constitutes key deposits, some of which are being exploited now. In order to promote increased utilization of these vast gas resources, the federal government of Nigeria proposed the Nigerian gas master plan (NGMP), which was directly aimed at assuring long-term gas security through managed resource exploitation.
Analysts opine that the development of both conventional and unconventional gas clearly has multiple benefits for Nigeria. It should be possible to achieve this in such a way that all stakeholders, including foreign investors and export customers, share equitably in the rewards.