Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has said that with Nigeria having over 200trn cubic feet of gas in reserve, gas and not oil, remains the way to go if the country must fully realise its potentials.
Engineer Sule disclosed this when he hosted the chairman of the newly established Upstream Regulatory Commission, Dr. Isa Moddibo, at the Government House, on Monday.
This is even as the governor reiterated his position on exploring and discovering more oil and gas reserves especially in the frontier basins.
According to Engineer Sule, even though Nigeria has 40bn barrels of oil in reserve, Nigeria is mostly not seen as a oil country like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Kuwait, but as a gas country that has oil.
The governor expressed hope that people in the oil and gas sector of the country’s economy, are beginning to real dreams for Nigeria because Nigeria’s future is in gas and not oil.
Giving an example, Engineer Sule recounted that in the 1970s, Bolivia was like Nigeria, with investors going there in search of oil but only to find gas.
“However, in the 1990s, Brazil’s economy changed for the better and the country began to look for gas to feed its industries. There was no gas in Brazil. Now, gas in Bolivia became gold,” he explained.
He pointed out that like Bolivia, Nigeria must gets its act well because by the time countries like Ghana, Cameroun, Chad and others in West Africa become industrialised, they will turn to Nigeria for the supply of gas.
“Nigeria needs industries, especially Nasarawa State. Luckily, the AKK is coming. When you say gas, I think AKK,” Engineer Sule said.
Reiterating his earlier stance on the frontier basins, the governor, who spent most of his career in the oil and gas industry, the governor said the smartest thing for the country, is to continue to make new discoveries in every part of the country.
He emphasized that the argument that Nigeria is taking eternity to produce its 40bn barrels of oil and for that reason, there is no need for the country to make new discoveries, does not hold water, especially that most of the country’s major oil discoveries like the Bonga, Elha and Agbani, are all offshore and exposed to security challenges.
“If Nigeria is smart, it’s to make discovery in every part of Nigeria, Nasarawa, Borno, Sokoto, Benin basin, Anambra basin, etc. These discoveries will the the security for the country. These are the fields you will be able to protect in case of insecurity,” the governor stated.
Engineer expressed satisfaction over the emergence of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), recalling his role while being a member of the OGIC in 2005, where he sought for the unbundling of the NNPC into four separate entities.
“When in 2005 in the OGIC we recommended for the unbundling of the NNPC into four entities, I had no doubt that was going to be the best thing,” he said.
He equally expressed appreciation that a Nasarawa State indigene is chairing the Upstream Regulatory Commission, especially that Nasarawa State is not presently an oil and gas state.
For Engineer Sule, the unbundling of the NNPC into two entities, was a dream come true.
Earlier, Chairman of the Upstream Regulatory Commission, Dr. Isa Moddibo, said the Petroleum Industry Act was put in place to create a situation where the management of the oil and gas sector becomes a public affair, where transparency and fairness are paramount.
Modibbo added that the PIA has also created a new regime of both fiscal administration and host-community relations, aimed at tackling incessant restfulness in the Niger Delta region.
He pointed the need to restructure the oil and gas sector of the country, in line with global best practices.
The chairman said for states that belong to the frontier basins, the whole idea was to see where the country can explore feasibility of oil and gas, stressing that already there are commercial quantities of oil and gas in Nasarawa and Bauchi.
Modibbo explained that, apart from oil, Nigeria stands the chance to develop her gas potentials to become Africa’s gas hub in no distant future.
He expressed hope that the new entities created after the unbundling of the NNPC will usher in new opportunities for youths across the country to be employed.
The Upstream Regulatory Commission was established by the Federal Government after the scrapping of three agencies under the NNPC namely DPR, PEF and PPRA, with the new agency focusing on activities that will enhance production activities in the upstream.