The Managing Director of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited, Mr. Tony Attah, has stressed the need for Nigeria to urgently harness its abundant gas resources for national transformation before time runs out on the country.
He said with Nigeria’s richness in gas potential coupled with its large population which presents a good market for gas, there was need for the country to be more deliberate and focused in diversifying into gas.
Attah advanced his thoughts recently at the 2nd virtual Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) Industry Multilogues, with the theme: “Powering Forward, Enabling Nigeria’s Industrialisation via Gas.”
He regretted that Nigeria and Africa still suffer from lack of access to energy and energy poverty despite the vast gas resources available to them.
“So, energy is in full transition and we believe it’s time to monetise Nigeria’s gas today,” he said.
He stated that Nigeria should take a cue from Qatar that had utilised its gas resource to transform the nation through a deliberate and focused policy of the government, assuring that such was possible and achievable in Nigeria.
He explained: “We just touched on a quick case study of Qatar. Someone mentioned Qatar already from a poor fishing country to a gas giant and it took just 10 years, which is why we, as Nigeria LNG, firmly believe in the conversation and the narrative about the declaration of the decade of gas.
“We believe it is possible. If you look at Qatar from 1995, when they really went into gas development, we were just two years behind Qatar. So, Qatar’s first LNG was in 1997.
“Nigeria’s first LNG was in 1999, just two years behind. But then, within 10 years, because of the deliberateness of the government and focus on gas, they have gone to 77 million tonnes and we are at best, 22 million tonnes.”
Attah noted that the company had made major inroads in gas development with the support of the Minister of State for Petroleum, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB and its shareholders -NNPC, Shell, Total and Eni, especially taking the ultimate decision for Train 7.
He, however, pointed out that the Train 7 was only going to add about 8million tonnes to take the existing six trains to 30 million tonnes while Qatar had recently taken a Final Investment Decision (FID) for 30 million tonnes plant, thereby establishing its dominance, deliberateness and focus on gas.
He added that Qatar had made their gas potentials to count for them.
Attah assured that the Nigeria LNG would continue to deliver value to the nation, noting that the company was a success story and believed it could get much bigger.
Highlighting the company’s contributions and value addition to Nigeria, Attah stated that, with 23 dedicated ships taking the national flag round the world, it was showcasing Nigeria.
According to him, the NLNG remains that biggest made-in-Nigeria product, establishing the presence of Nigeria globally but more importantly in the energy space.
Noting that having contributed more than $100 billion to the nation in terms of revenue, $35 billion dividends to the nation and $38 billion in taxes since the company became a taxpayer, it believed that tapping more of the nation’s gas was the way to go.
While acknowledging that Train 7 was an opportunity for the country, Attah contended that based on what Qatar had just done, Train 7 for them, was no longer ambitious if Nigeria was really going to tap into making it count.
He pledged the company’s support of the federal government’s ambition to push on the decade of gas, saying the company remained the galvanising platform for the decade of gas actualisation.
Attah further said: “We offer ourselves as partners to the government, but most importantly, we say, we are available.
“If you can produce the gas, we can take it because the whole conversation around ‘show me the market, I will produce and the market says show me the gas, I will buy it’, we think Nigeria LNG is set to break that.
“But overall, gas is the future. That future is now, and just as the Minister of State has made us to realise, gas is food in fertiliser. Gas is transport as you saw in the Autogas project that was declared.”
He added: “Gas is life, as a matter of fact, for cooking, for heating, for existence. Gas is development in manufacturing, gas is power. Gas is everything.
“We think it’s time for gas. It’s time for Nigeria to diversify and that is why we fully support the decade of gas.”