Nestoil Canvasses Total Deregulation of Gas Sector

Nnia Nwodo

Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The Group Managing Director of Nestoil Group, Mr. Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, has advised the federal government to allow market forces dictate the price of gas in order to enable the Nigerian economy benefit from Nigeria’s vast gas endowment.

Azudialu-Obiejesi, who was a guest speaker at the Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) Summit in Abuja said it was regrettable that Nigeria continues to generate less than 4,000 megawatts of power on the average despite having the ninth largest proven gas reserves in the world.

According to him, it was a sad commentary that a country like South Africa without the kind of Nigeria’s natural gas reserves endowment produces over 40,000 megawatts of electricity for a population of only 57 million people.

The Nigerian power deficit, he noted, will not improve if the government does not take the drastic step of completely allowing market forces to determine costs.

He said a willing-buyer-willing-seller scenario that allows gas producers to sell to off takers at commercially viable rates is what will encourage investments in the gas sector.

Azudialu-Obiejesi said the successful deregulation of the Telecommunications sector in Nigeria was a good case study that the Oil and Gas industry should emulate in order to stimulate exponential growth in that sector.

According to the Nestoil Group Managing Director, the telecoms sector is growing in Nigeria because Government regulations are relaxed enough to allow competition to drive pricing and product offerings.

Azudialu-Obiejesi also called on Nigeria to invest more in gas infrastructure rather than crude oil, which according to him will continue to decline in long term economic relevance as the world continues to embrace cleaner forms of energy.

‘Many countries in Europe are at the forefront of this energy revolution, and with time, African countries, including Nigeria will be dragged along. It is time now to embrace a paradigm shift, and change Nigeria’s energy focus squarely from crude oil to gas.

He gave the example of China which significantly turned round the fortunes of the country in over 20 years by investing in power and other infrastructure. ‘the primary catalyst for China’s growth was the country’s strong stance to invest in building a robust infrastructure.

They built large base load power plants in many locations to provide reliable power to its growing manufacturing industries.

With these power plants that run primarily on coal, China is able to produce goods at competitive prices, he concluded.

Nestoil is Nigeria’s largest indigenous Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) company in the oil and gas sector and has been a significant contributor to the industry since inception in 1991.

With over 1,500 direct employees, Nestoil continues to redefine industry standards in pipeline construction, repairs and maintenance with associated facilities for dredging, river crossing and shoreline protection.