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Gas Africa 50

Delay in gas reform to cost Nigeria Africa50 support, investments

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The President of Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), Mr. Dada Thomas, has decried that federal government’s delays in the release of Nigerian gas reform document will among other things deny the country access to multibillion naira industry support from Africa50 group.

The highly awaited reform will among other things present the needed legal and regulatory framework that would enable the removal of all the other obstacles in gas sector development. Currently, the expected investments in gas development have been put on hold over fears of the provisions of the delays reforms.

NGA boss, Thomas stressed that “As we all know, the passed gas policy proposes reforms so profound that almost every new investment is on hold awaiting the resolution of the questions raised by this legislation,” he said in Lagos at a press briefing ahead of the association’s bi-annual gas conference slated to take place in Abuja this month.

NGA was convinced that turning natural gas into a profit-making venture requires huge investments in infrastructure that address the five component areas of gas availability, gas affordability, deliverability, funding and the legal and regulatory framework.

According to him, “At no time in the history of our industry has natural gas been poised to play a more important role in our country and sub-Saharan African energy picture. The natural gas revolution is the most significant energy thing in decades of the region’s development.

“The implications of this revolution, with a particular focus on what it means for the West African region, are important for our industry and the region’s economy to grasp. The benefits of natural gas in meeting our future energy needs are well documented. Its supply is increasingly abundant and diverse, which means greater energy security.”

A statement issued by Africa50 while releasing its report in New York and made available to Business Hilights weekend, revealed that the consortium of gas investors is ready to support African nations with clear cut reforms and appealing policies in the development of clean power, gas driven industrialisation, and provision of affordable energy to households.

Chief Executive Officer of Africa50, Alain Ebobissé, who released the Africa50 Report titled; Investing in Natural Gas for Africans: Doing Good and Doing Well, said “We at Africa50 are ready to take a leadership role in developing Africa’s gas resources to help the continent reach its full economic potential. This report provides us and other stakeholders the background and analysis to move forward expeditiously.”

Already, Africa50 has been investing in solar and thermal power projects in Nigeria, Egypt, and Senegal.

In view of its discovery of a clear disconnect between Africa’s vast natural gas reserves (7.5% of known global reserves) and the continent’s low levels of gas infrastructure, and the resulting low penetration of gas in African economies, Africa50 commissioned a report from EJM Associates to analyse the opportunities and benefits of natural gas development in Africa.

According to the report, “The scale of potential domestic demand by mid-century, and the technologies that can help increase this demand and the concomitant supply and infrastructure are huge and cannot be neglected by any genuine investing group.

“With over half of Africans still lacking access to electricity, using natural gas as a power source is particularly important. Gas is also a feedstock for a large range of industrial products and can help speed up Africa’s much-needed industrialisation. And, for a continent particularly at risk from climate change, natural gas is a clean fuel that will help African countries meet their COP commitments.

“Currently in Africa, gas already fires a quarter of all power plants in Africa, and is the single largest source of installed capacity (86 GW). However, most gas power plants are limited to coastal areas in countries with large proven reserves, so midstream infrastructure, from pipelines to LNG facilities, are urgently needed.

“Equally important, both for the continent’s development, and to build the necessary demand to attract investment are gas by-products such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and ethane that can be used for cooking, heating, power, and industry.

Ebobissé averred that “LPG can help replace biomass as a cooking fuel, with health and environmental benefits such as lower carbon emissions and less deforestation, while ethane can be used as a feedstock for power generation and petrochemical production, including ethylene, a precursor for plastics.

He added that added to clean energy initiative, gas is a key ingredient for fertiliser, which is much needed on a continent that remains largely agricultural.

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