The Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has recently stated that Nigeria is in a position to generate 40,000MW of power daily for 68 years from the country’s indigenous gas reserves estimated at 181 trillion cubic feet (TCF).

Chairman of OPTS and managing director of Chevron Nigeria, Clay Neff, said at a recent conference held in Lagos, that in addition to the large generation potential, the country could see many other economic benefits through these reserves, reported Nigeria Today.

Gas reserves need active development

Local media reported that Neff, represented by the MD of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), Osagie Okunbor, said that the country is currently utilising 25% of these gas reserves, while the remaining 135 trillion cubic feet of proven gas is not associated with any planned development.

Stating that more development needs to be done, Okunbor said that Nigeria has been driving gas production from the native oil fields from 415 billion cubic feet (bcf) in 2000 to 1,780bcf in 2015.

He added that the number of flares has been reduced by 60% over this period through investments in flares-out projects, noting that more still needs to be done.

Gas supply hampered by various factors

According to Neff, various factors have hampered the domestic supply of gas to sectors including repayment of outstanding gas invoice arrears; development of adequate infrastructure base; and ensuring sufficient funding for gas development.

Others include provision of enabling commercial and fiscal terms, and ensuring conducive business environment, which includes providing a secure operational environment, media reported.

Neff said: “With 181 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves, and multiples of this figure in undiscovered gas resources, OPTS believes that Nigeria has the potential to be a gas super-power. These reserves place Nigeria as the largest in Africa and the ninth largest in the world.

“However, only about 25% of those reserves is being produced or under development today. The remaining 135 trillion cubic feet of proven gas is not associated with any planned development. And, there is virtually no active exploration in search of new gas reserves.

“The total power potential of these discovered, but undeveloped reserves represent 68 years of 40,000MW compared to today’s power generation of approximately 4,000MW.”

He added: “Nigeria generates the equivalent power of just one 40-watt light bulb per person – one of the lowest power generation levels per person in the world. This compares to countries such as South Africa at 20 light bulbs per person, United Kingdom at 33 and the United States at 80.”

“Government has an ambitious aspiration to increase power generation from the current 4,000MW to 40,000MW. Gas development is the key to realising this aspiration and requires an approximate 7-fold increase in domestic gas supply for power generation alone – even more, if we consider industrial needs. This represents a huge development opportunity for Nigeria’s gas industry.

“Government policy should be directed at striking the right balance between seeing gas as a catalyst to drive economic development and as a commodity for revenue generation. This balance is necessary to encourage the required investments for gas development.”