Attah: Nigeria’s Challenge in Gas Sector is Execution

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Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), Tony Attah

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), Mr. Tony Attah, has said Nigeria’s challenge in the gas sector has never been the shortage of good guidelines and policies, but the will power to execute them.

Attah noted that the NLNG model remains viable because of the absence of political interference, noting that the management only reports to the board occupied by the three international oil companies and the federal government, represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Speaking during a web conference organised by BusinessDay recently, Attah, stated that Nigeria has not even started scratching its potential in the sector, opining that to lay a strong framework which will form the basis of gas take-off will take about a decade.

He lauded the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Timipre Sylva, for the renewed attention to gas utilisation in the country, noting that with over 200 trillion TCF, the huge possibilities in the sector have not been tapped.

“We are not short of policies or guidelines around gas. So, it comes down to execution. A lot of things will come from the commercialisation of gas. We have over 200 TCF of gas which is the largest in Africa and 600 TCF yet to be proven.

It’s really about that deliberateness of government to say it’s time for gas.

“Nigeria has ridden on the back of oil for more than 50 years, and now it’s time to fly on the wings of gas if we are to leapfrog to the next level. Overall, we should be looking at infrastructure. You cannot achieve much without infrastructure.

“The AKK pipeline connecting north to south, OB3, connecting east to West Delta and the one taking gas from Niger Delta to the southwest are a good way to start. We need a very robust base to be able to harness these valued resources” he stated.

Attah listed security as another factor which will encourage investment in the sector, explaining that Nigeria needs to be deliberate in terms of how it develops the domestic gas sector or it will remain a pipe dream.

According to him, with the world moving towards cleaner energy, gas has now become a bridge between the past and the future.

“We need social stability in terms of the security of these assets, today we hear about vandalism of pipelines impacting on supply. In the end, the real question is how we can attract investment into this space?

“It’s the year of gas. But to be frank, in one year, you cannot achieve much. We need to declare it the decade of gas.

“We will then establish a 10-year window in which the commerciality of gas will be established to enable Nigerians harness the value and galvanise domestic gas to lead to the industrialisation that we need. Gas is food in terms of fertilisers, gas is power, gas is jobs, gas is industrialisation, gas is sustainability” he stated.

He posited that to make a headway in the sector, Nigeria would have to borrow a leaf from countries like Qatar, with the right regulatory and commercial framework to operate and to stabilise the sector.

“We need the government to focus on this particular resource. With 200 tcf and 22 million tons per annum capacity at Nigeria LNG. Train 7 will help take it to about 30 million tons. 30 million tons from 200 TCM is a non-starter for Nigeria.

“Australia has 128 trillion tcf, but they have 88 million tons per annum capacity LNG plant, Malaysia has only 97 TCF, they have 29 million tons, Indonesia has 103TCF, 26 million tonnes while Mozambique that is coming is talking about 120-150 TCF, but their ambition is starting point is 50 million tons per annum.

“That deliberateness is very crucial. It can’t be achieved in one year. It’s crucial that the minister has declared the year of gas, but we need to be deliberate to say this is what we want to focus and harness starting with the development in the domestic space.”