Dr. Maikanti Baru, The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, has said that the enormous natural gas reserves in Africa is capable of unlocking the huge natural resource potentials, such as gold, diamond, iron ore and steel in the continent, to enable a wide range of industrial clusters built around petrochemical, manufacturing, agro-business and fertilizer production. Dr. Baru disclosed this while delivering the 36th Monthly Gas Lecture held at the Headquarters of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Doha, Qatar, on recently.
The NNPC GMD, who was represented at the occasion by Engr. Saidu Mohammed, NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Gas & Power, spoke on the theme “Natural Gas: Catalyst for Africa’s Economic Development and Integration.” The delegation also included Nigeria’s Country representative to the GECF, Mr. Bala Wunti, amongst members. Dr. Baru said that Africa’s huge gas reserves currently stood at about 614 TCF, even as Nigeria had the continent’s largest reserves with 199TCF, Algeria (159TCF) and Mozambique (100TCF) occupying the second and third positions respectively.
According to Dr. Baru, GECF member-countries currently produced 93% of Africa’s natural gas, a significant assurance which highlighted the continent’s future in the natural gas landscape. The GMD explained that the focus in gas development in Africa was to intensify efforts in in-continent conversion which would ensure value addition across the entire natural gas value chain, with a view to improving the continent’s economy.
He said in deliberately channeling natural gas development towards meeting up with domestic and export aspirations, Nigeria’s strategic plan had been hinged on three key areas. “This focus will be on developing natural gas to meet Nigeria’s gas-to-power aspirations, gas-based industrialization and harnessing our gas for export credentials. Describing the unprecedented power demand growth in West and Central Africa as a big opportunity for investors, Dr. Baru stressed that the additional 3600MW power plants currently being developed along the corridors of Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline would stimulate economic activities and impact significantly on the stability of the Nigeria’s power grid.
He affirmed that Nigeria had grown domestic gas supply capacity to 1.7bscfd with plans to increase capacity to 2bscfd at the completion of some short term gas supply projects by 2019. He further observed that Nigeria was on the verge of taking Final Investment Decision (FID) for additional 8MTPA NLNG Train 7 Plant, a move that would see to the expansion of the country’s existing 22MTPA NLNG Plant.