The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has spoken of the Federal Government’s plan to reposition and strengthen the nation’s oil and gas sector post-COVID-19, through the transformation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
He also said the strengthening of the sector would be achieved through the National Gas Expansion Programme, NGEP, adding that the two strategies would also insulate the nation’s economy from low oil prices.
The minister, who disclosed these at the 13th International Conference of the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics, NAEE, in Abuja, said the COVID-19 pandemic and progressive decline in crude oil prices in 2020, had made it imperative for Nigeria to aggressively pursue the diversification of its revenue portfolio.
This, according to him, was to cushion the effect of a future crash in crude oil prices and position the oil and gas industry for growth in a post-COVID world.
He further stated that the government had come to terms with the application of domestic gas as a platform to drive a truly sustainable in-country economic diversification.
Sylva said: “Our strategy to strengthen the Nigerian oil and gas industry in a post-COVID-19 world is to transform our national oil company into a diversified energy holding company to enable us respond swiftly to the twin challenges of a future crash in crude oil prices and decarbonization, by moving rapidly to becoming an energy holding company with more diverse interests.
“Consequently, we have strategically focused on our vast natural gas resources, as a critical transition fuel to help battle global warming and function as bridge between the dominant fossil fuel of today and the renewable energy of tomorrow.
“Natural gas has the intrinsic ability to meet the increasing global requirement for cleaner primary energy use, while at the same time, enabling much needed domestic industrialization for rapid economic growth in very few endowed countries, such as Nigeria.
“We expect that substituting traditional white products with gas would cushion the effect of the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector; stimulate economic growth; further improve Nigeria’s energy mix; drive investments and create enormous job opportunities for Nigeria.”
He added that the Federal Government recently declared 2021 to 2030, as the decade of gas in Nigeria, due to the laudable achievements and successes recorded in the gas sector in 2020.
Sylva further stated that in order to effectively develop the country’s gas sector, the Federal Government had proposed fiscal incentives that would attract investments in the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.
He assured operators in the industry, that fiscal provisions, when passed in the PIB, would be one of the most attractive in Africa