Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the National Gas Policy with which the federal government plans to turnaround commercial operations and benefits due to Nigeria from her gas resources.
The policy, according to a statement from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources wednesday in Abuja, was approved by FEC at its cabinet meeting presided over by Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, a week ago.
The statement stated that FECâ€™s approval was done after the Minister of Sta
te for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, presented the policy at the meeting.
Signed by the Director of Press in the ministry, Mr. Idang Alibi, the statement explained that the approval represented a major win for Nigeriaâ€™s oil and gas sector.
It said it was developed by the ministry, and noted that the policy represented the vision of the government for the gas sector of the country.
It said it has in it, goals; strategies; and an implementation plan for the development of a gas sector that is commercially driven with all the required institutions in place.
â€œIt is intended to remove the barriers affecting investment and development of the sector. The policy will be reviewed and updated periodically to ensure consistency in government policy objectives at all times.
â€œThe gas policy intends to move Nigeria from an oil-based to an oil and gas based industrial economy which will be driven by core principles,â€ the statement explained.
It listed these core principles to include separate roles and responsibilities for the government and the private sector; creation of a single independent petroleum regulatory authority; execution of full legal separation of the upstream from the midstream; implementation of full legal separation of gas infrastructure ownership and operations from gas trading; and more recognition of the value of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) international downstream market.
Other core principles of the policy as listed by the statement are pursuance of a project-based, rather than a centrally-planned domestic gas development approach; prioritisation of a strong maintenance and safety culture; implementation of international best practice for environmental protection; establishment of strong linkages with electric, agriculture, transport and industrial sectors; establishment of payment discipline throughout the energy value chain; respect for stability of contract terms; assurance on security of assets; and strict compliance with the Nigerian Content Act.
Kachikwu, was quoted in it to have said that Nigeria needs major changes in policy to make gas a hub of her economy.
He also highlighted the need to have a stream of revenues between oil and gas in order to improve Nigeriaâ€™s economy and leverage opportunities from the sectors.
The policy which the statement said covered key aspects that include governance; industry structure; development of gas resources; infrastructure; building of viable gas markets; developing Nigeriaâ€™s national human resources, was initiated to tie into the governmentâ€™s â€˜7 Big Winsâ€™ initiative for the oil and gas sector, and the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).