By Emmanuel Addeh
The federal government has asked Nigerians to expect more transparency and investments in the country’s gas sector, following the full take-off of the Nigerian Gas Transportation Network Code (NGTNC) Monday.
The code, which is being implemented through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), the government said, would fully ensure open access and enhance availability and affordability of domestic gas for Nigerians.
Speaking during the launch of the “Go Live” ceremony Monday, the Minister of State, Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, described the code as a set of rules and contractual framework established by the government to be observed by gas producers and transporters.
At the programme hosted by the DPR and attended by the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, and other industry stakeholders, Sylva said that it was part of the current administration’s push for reforms in the oil and gas industry.
Sylva said: “The go-live ceremony of the Nigerian transportation network code is an epoch making event. We have continued to push forward sustainable reforms in the Nigerian oil and gas sector targeted at driving optimal value for over 200 million Nigerians.
“From our national reserve base of 37 billion barrels of oil and 203 cubic feet of gas, following the declaration of 2020 as the year of gas, this action will drive key policy and regulatory initiatives.
“This will enhance support for domestic and export gas supply, tackle the perennial problem of gas flaring with its attendant waste and environmental impact.
“The Nigerian gas transportation network code, the national gas expansion programme and the Nigerian gas flare commercialisation programmes will help us achieve the presidential mandate of gas penetration, gas-based industrialisation and economic diversification.
“It’s my firm belief that the implementation of the network code, which is a set of rules and principles guiding the use and operations of the gas transportation system, will develop the domestic gas market and unleash the potential for accelerated growth and economic development of our nation.”
He noted that the official take-off of the programme had wider implications for the entire energy sector beyond those operating within the gas sector.
“In the coming months, this code, together with related interventions, will enable improved gas supply to power growth of gas-based industries, domestic energy, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) penetration as well as enhance revenue to the government.
“In the same way, the Network Code Electronic Licensing and Administrative System (NCELAS) will be used to receive, process and issue all applicable licences to all players. With this, the unveiling of a world class network has commenced,” he added.
During the event, which also witnessed the signing of a framework of agreement between the NGC, Dangote Fertilisers Limited and GasHub, the minister lauded the management of DPR for making the programme operational before the six-month directive given by the ministry.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, DPR, Mr Auwalu Sarki, said all the boxes before the implementation of the programme had been ticked and key directives have been achieved, including the commencement of migration and activation of monitoring procedures.
He stated that the new programme would ensure optimal gas availability, adding that it will guarantee investments, enable participation, act as a one-stop shop for network administration and ensure transparency and professionalism in the gas business in the country.
The DPR boss noted that the code will ensure non-discriminatory access to the pipelines system, guarantee secure, available, reliable and safe gas transmission system as well as aid cost-reflective tariffs for pipelines services.
Also, Kyari pledged the full support of the NNPC to the new code, describing it as an opportunity to widen gas usage and revenues in the country.
Some key objectives of the network code are to: ensure fair and non-discriminatory access to the gas network; promote gas trading; and deepen domestic gas penetration in-country.
The new network code will also ensure a single entry and exit point to cut short the sharp practices prevalent in the current supply and distribution system, whether for domestic or industrial uses.