NLNG Calls for Nigeria to Expand Domestic Gas Use
Nigeria will be able to reduce emissions, lower energy costs, monetise its domestic resources and drive economic growth by expanding the role of gas in its energy mix, Nigeria LNG (NLNG) head Tony Attah said in an online session on December 8.
Nigeria is better known for its oil than its gas, boasting the status of Africa's biggest crude producer. But with nearly 200 trillion ft3 (5.4 trillion m3) of proven gas reserves and a further 600 trillion ft3 yet to be proven, in reality Nigeria is "a gas nation that has some oil," Attah said. "It's about time Nigeria really takes advantage of this resource," he said, drawing attention the key role of gas in delivering climate goals.
NLNG, whose shareholders are state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum (NNPC), Shell, Total and Eni, operates Nigeria's only active LNG terminal, although its size places the country in the top five LNG producers in the world, with a capacity of 22mn metric tons/year. The consortium took a final investment decision last year on adding a seventh train and undertaking other upgrades that will raise output to 30mn mt/yr in 2024.
Both NLNG and Nigerian authorities have expressed frustration over the years with the slow pace of growth in the country's LNG exports, noting that its resources could support much higher levels. "We have to set our sights on trains eight, nine and 10," Attah said, citing Qatar's aggressive expansion strategy as an example to follow.
The CEO also lauded Nigeria's efforts in promoting gas at home, noting that it aspired to provide LNG to the domestic market as well, supporting industrialisation. He pointed to the start of construction of the 614-km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline over the summer as a key milestone. The pipeline is due to deliver up to 56mn m3/day of gas to power plants under development in the states of Abuja, Kaduna and Kano.
Nigeria has also announced plans this year to provide subsidies to encourage more motorists to switch to gas as a vehicle fuel, with the government setting a goal of getting 1mn vehicles converted to gas by the end of 2021. This programme will help Nigeria significantly reduce its import bill, as the country, with very little functioning oil refining capacity, relies heavily on motor fuels from overseas. Gas can also play a greater role as a household cooking fuel, Attah said, replacing dirtier fuels and reducing deaths from smoke inhalation.
"Gas is more than energy – gas is power and gas is about survival, gas is life, gas is cleaner, gas is affordable and gas is available," Attah said.