As part of its commitments to open up more revenue sources for Nigeria through legislative tools, the House of Representatives has organised a public hearing on bills that focus on how to boost and explore gas utilisation for revenue generation and accelerate private investment in the product.
Declaring the public hearing open at the National Assembly, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who was represented by the chief whip, Alhassan Doguwa, said the proposed legislation will help to create an enabling legislative order in which gas shall no longer be a footnote of crude oil with the attendant overriding benefits to the Nigerian economy.
“Presently, Nigeria has a proven gas reserve of about 187 trillion cubic feet and with the global drive towards the use of cleaner fossil fuel (gas), we must do everything possible to draw maximum benefits from the emerging gas economy and the global trend on gas resources.
“Today, the establishment of fertilizer plants, utilization of gas for electric power production and for several significant economic purposes has tremendously heightened interest in gas production.
“Legislations that are required to boost the envisaged level of gas utilization are largely opaque and not robust enough to accelerate private entrepreneurial investment in gas development, production, beneficiation and downstream activities; it is for this reason that the House of Representatives is highly committed to enacting legislation that would attract capital into the Nigerian gas sector.”
Mr Dogara also explained that the bills seek to establish the much needed legislative framework to free Nigeria’s gas deposits from the overarching concentration on crude oil production at the detriment of gas production and are expected to propel the country to give gas development, production and marketing its pride of place.
“If these bills are eventually enacted into law, they will help create the enabling legislative order in which gas shall no longer be a footnote of crude oil with the attendant overriding benefits to the Nigerian economy.
“The gas sector of the Nigerian economy has despite several commercial efforts failed to yield its value chain benefits.
“The laws in place in Nigeria have continued to make crude oil production the corner stone of the country’s petroleum sector development, with inadequate focus on gas production.
“This misnomer is quite understandable in view of the fact that at the time of developing the Nigerian petroleum sector, global interest in crude oil production and utilisation far outweighed gas utilization. Indeed, gas was treated as waste. It has even still continued to be flared,” he elucidated.