The federal government yesterday stated its determination to meet the long-term gas supply security of the European countries.
It said the move was part of measures of the expand the country’s gas market across veritable frontiers.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources and Alternate President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said the country was ready to explore its gas potential to the fullest.
She spoke after holding discussions with the EU Energy Commissioner, Günther Oettinger, at the sideline of the 11th European Union-OPEC Energy Dialogue Ministerial Meeting in Brussels, Belgium.
A statement from the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ohi Alegbe, yesterday in Abuja stated that the discussions focused on the role Nigeria can play in supporting the EU’s energy sector priorities, and particularly the long-term security and diversification of gas supplies.
The statement noted that Alison-Madueke had highlighted that Nigeria’s gas production had increased to over eight billion cubic feet per day, while the country was currently the eighth largest gas producer in the world and sixth largest gas supplier to Europe.
Alison-Madueke emphasised that Nigeria had over 180 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of discovered reserves and up to 600 tcf of undiscovered gas reserves, noting that significant investment was planned to support expansion of the sector in the coming years.
She further explained that while increasing domestic power generation was a priority for the government, export capacity would also rapidly grow, particularly as new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects are completed.
“It was an extremely productive meeting with Oettinger and I look forward to continuing to work with him to build an even stronger relationship between Nigeria and the EU,” Alison-Madueke said.
Oettinger had also said that he recognised the long-term potential of Nigeria’s energy sector and would welcome further discussions to explore ways for greater collaboration between the EU and Nigeria.
The statement also added that Alison-Madueke had earlier given a keynote address at the meeting, in her role as the Alternate President of the OPEC and during which she highlighted the strength of the trade and energy relations between OPEC and the EU countries.
She noted that OPEC countries supply the EU with over 30 per cent of annual oil consumption and nearly 20 per cent of annual gas demand.
She highlighted the role of OPEC in ensuring stability, transparency and predictability in the international oil markets, which is essential as the global economies recover and strengthen.
The minister stated that in the long-term, OPEC member countries would continue to play an essential role as it had anticipated that they would provide as much as 11 million barrels per day (mbpd) out of the anticipated 18 mbpd of additional oil required to meet the expected worldwide demand growth by 2035.
In order to maintain growth and investment, Alison-Madueke emphasised the importance of maintaining reforms in emerging economies. She noted that one such reform in Nigeria is the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is currently before Nigeria’s National Assembly and which will change the face of the country’s petroleum operations and ensure they remain in line with international standards and best practices.
She noted that the reforms in the energy sector would support the longer-term economic priorities of Africa’s largest economy, with significant investment planned in infrastructure, power generation, industry and agriculture, as well as in health and education services.
The approach she said is similar to what obtains in other OPEC member countries, which are actively pursuing economic diversification strategies.