“Our major objective for the gas sector is to transform Nigeria into an industrialised nation with gas playing a major role…,” Nigerian media quoted Buhari as telling the Decade of Gas conference last moth in the capital, Abuja.
Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said development of gas was at the very heart of modernising the west African nation.
“We must deal with energy poverty in this country,” he was quoted as telling the conference. “We must find a way to unlock the natural gas potential of this great nation and drag over 120 million of our people out of energy poverty.”
Nigeria holds the world’s 10th largest reserves of natural gas (5.4 trillion cu m. compared to 38 trillion cu. m. in Russia) and is sixth in the world in terms of exports of liquefied natural gas — 28.8 billion cu. m. compared to 107.1 billion cu. m. by the world’s leading nation, Qatar.
Nigeria is far behind other African states in terms of gas consumption – in 2019, total internal demand stood at 18.8 billion cu m. – well below the figure for Algeria (45 billion cu. m.) and Egypt (58.9 billion cu.m.), according to figures from the international Energy Agency and the BP Review of World Energy.
In formal terms, gas-fired stations dominate Nigeria’s power generation structure – with a 73 % share of total generating capacity (compared to 13 % for hydro and 14 % for diesel and fuel oil, according to USAID, the U.S. agency for international development).
But the country’s current capacity is insufficient to provide for the energy needs of the country’s population – USAID says 86 % of households in cities are connected to the power grid, while in rural areas, that figure falls to 34 % — and 49 % of the population lives in villages.
In order to make up for shortfalls, Nigeria will not only have to bring greater generating capacity on stream but also reorient for the domestic market gas projects now focused on export.
For instance, the seventh LNG train being proposed at the port of Bonny Island in the south of the country (at a cost of $6.5 billion), which will boost its annual LNG production capacity from 22 million to 30 million tonnes. Or the five additional trains at the same site – their possible construction was reported by Bloomberg NEF in January.