Group Managing Director of Nestoil Group, Dr. Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, has urged the Federal Government to invest more in gas infrastructure as part of measures to diversify from oil.
Azudialu who stated this at Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference and Exhibition which ended in Abuja last week, said ‘‘many countries in Europe are now at the forefront of energy revolution, and with time, African countries, including Nigeria will be dragged along. It is now time to embrace a paradigm shift and change Nigeria’s energy focus from crude oil to gas.’’
The Nestoil boss warned that the demand for oil will decline in the long term as the world continues to embrace cleaner forms of energy.
He also called on the Federal Government to allow market forces determine the cost of gas in order for the Nigerian economy to benefit from country’s gas prowess.
The Nestoil boss said it was rather sad to note that South Africa without natural gas reserves generates over 40,000 megawatts of electricity for a population of 57 million people while Nigeria with abundant gas could only strive to generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity despite having the 9th largest gas deposits in the world.
Azudialu-Obiejesi, said Nigeria’s power deficit will not improve if the Federal Government fails to allow market forces determine energy cost.
He said a willing-buyer-willing-seller scenario that allows gas producers to sell to off takers at commercially viable rates is what will encourage investments in the gas sector. He noted that the successful deregulation of the Telecommunications sector in Nigeria was a good case study that the oil and gas industry should emulate in order to stimulate exponential growth in that sector.
According to him, the telecoms sector is growing in Nigeria because Government regulations are relaxed enough to allow competition to drive pricing and product offerings.
Azudialu gave the example of China which significantly turned round the fortunes of the country in over 20 years by investing in power and other infrastructure.
‘‘The primary catalyst for China’s growth was the country’s strong stance to invest in building a robust infrastructure. They built large base load power plants in many locations to provide reliable power to its growing manufacturing industries. With these power plants that run primarily on coal, China is able to produce goods at competitive prices.’’ he disclosed