FG Pledges to Complete Gas Fields’ Concession Programme

Timipre Sylva

By Chineme Okafor

The federal government will not abandon its plan to concession up to 178 identified flare gas fields through its Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Program (NGFCP) which it initiated in 2018.

The Technical Adviser (TA) on Gas Business and Policy Implementation to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, Justice Derefaka, disclosed this during a chat with THISDAY.

Derefaka, who is also the Program Manager for the NGFCP, said the country has been working on the modalities so far, adding that the process of concluding the first phase of the NGFCP was ongoing with the bid rounds.

According to the government, the NGFCP was designed as its strategy to eliminate gas flares from oil fields in the country. It noted that with potentially enormous multiplier and development outcomes for Nigeria, the NGFCP will support technically and commercially sustainable gas utilisation projects developed by competent third-party investors.

Through the program, the government said it would offer flare gas for sale to qualified bidders through a transparent and competitive bidding process.

But speaking to THISDAY on the back of the government’s plan to formerly launch a gas transportation code for the country, Derefaka, stressed that the NGFCP has not been abandoned; he said it was still part of the government’s key policy focus in the country’s oil and gas sector.

“Apart from the nine ministerial mandate priority deliverables of the ministry from 2019 to 2023, the go-live of the network code could be described as one of the four great milestones of the Honourable Minister’s priority deliverables for the oil and gas industry.

“The others are completion of the first phase bidding round of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Program (NGFCP), which has the potential of overall inward foreign direct investment of $3 to 3.5 billion; potential annual revenue or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) impact of $1 billion.

“(The program will also) generate approximately 26,000 direct jobs and approximately 300,000 total jobs, create a new wave of opportunity for a new set of investors, usher in the beginning of the creation of the new midstream players,” said Derefaka.

Derefaka, equally noted that the government understands the contribution the NGFCP could make to Nigeria’s climate change mitigation efforts.

“And, in terms emissions reduction, once operational, projects launched under the NCFCP will reduce Nigeria’s emissions by approximately 13 metric million tons of CO2 per year; producing 600,000MT of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) per year and generating 2.5GW of power from new and existing Independent Power Plants (IPPs).

“The NGFCP can become an important source of additional gas to support power sector development and recovery,” he explained.

The other priority focus of the government, he added include the 2020 marginal oil field licensing round which he noted would deepen the participation of Nigerian businesses in the country’s upstream oil market, as well as the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law to aggregate all the laws that govern the industry from upstream to downstream sector as well as establish and clarify the rules, procedures, and institutions that will entrench good governance, transparency, and accountability in the industry.

“If you look at it holistically, the four priority deliverables of the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, will lead to job creation for Nigerians and strengthening of Nigeria’s local content enforcement; this applies to both human and materials resources,” he added.