All posts tagged gas


Shell at the Brink: Never Let A Good Crisis Go to Waste

By Gerard Kreeft

Since April 1 2020 Elisabeth Brinton was appointed Executive Vice President of Shell’s New Energies business, steering the company’s work in power, renewables and lower-carbon technology. According to her Linked-In site, ”this role covers Shell’s work in wind and solar, new mobility options such as electric vehicle charging, and laying the foundation for an integrated lower-carbon power business” .
Brinton is a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur and utility industry veteran… She joined Shell in 2018 from AGL Energy, Australia’s largest integrated energy company, where she was Executive Vice President, New Energy.  She “helped to increase adoption of renewable energy, build the world’s first residential virtual power plant and grow and sell a profitable smart metering business”. Brinton also
was previously the Corporate Strategy Officer for PG&E Corporation, the US utility company that specialises in renewables, customer solar, energy efficiency and electric mobility.

She has a monumental task of developing Shell’s renewable energy strategy. The situation is grim, especially from a shareholder’s perspective. Shell’s share  price has plummeted. Earnings season is fast approaching and shareholders are anticipating their golden share dividend. Not since WWII has Shell reneged paying out such a dividend. Will it be able to continue this tradition?

The signs are not good. Shell’s cash deficit between 2010 and the 3rd Quarter of 2019 was $22.9Billion, based on a study released by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The other majors- BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and TOTAL- included had similar cash deficits. In total more than $200Billion! With a continued lower oil price, the future scenarios are bleak.

Shell plans to invest $2 – $3Billion a year on its power and low-carbon business compared with an overall spending budget of $30Billion per year between 2021 and 2025.

Prior to the current oil and gas crisis BloombergNEF estimated that investments in renewable energy in the period 2010-2019 was $2.6Trillion. Through 2025, $322Billion per annum would be spent, almost triple the $116Billion invested in fossil fuels. With most E &P budgets locked down future investments in the oil and gas sector look grim.

If there ever is a motivation to move on and recognize that renewables are the new boys on the block the time is now. To think that Shell, who are doing symbolic spending on renewables will survive is also an illusion. Shell continues to give a gold dividend and this will be paid for by debt financing, i.e. redundancies and the selling of more assets. In the meantime the share price continues to sink like a stone.

If you make a net comparison between Orsted, the Danish the Offshore Wind Farm giant and Shell then the following:

Shell’s latest share price (6 April 2020) was US$ 39

In May 2018 the share hit a high of $70

In other words, the share has lost almost half of its value.

Orsted’s share price on April 6, 2020 was $108

Orsted’s share price on July 1, 2016 was $35

In this period of time the share price has tripled, while Shell’s share lost almost 50% of its value.

True the Shell share continues to give shareholders a golden dividend of some 6%. Orsted for the last 4 years has only had a dividend of 1.68%.

Yet the true investment return must surely be seen in the spectacular and continued rise of the Orsted share which has tripled and has only had a small blimp in the current economic crisis. How long can Shell  afford this current policy? Simply throwing money at it will not solve the problem. What is missing is a strategic vision…and simply appointing a new EVP for Renewable Energy is too little too late. Shell can possibly choose two options:

Continue on its present course paying out its current dividend and financing this through assets sales and redundancies; or

Become a truly dedicated energy company increasing its new energy budget five-fold to at least $10- 15Billion per year. At the same time decrease the dividend and ensure that the Shell share can gain a true value. Ensuring true shareholder value will depend on creating a renewable business model that meets the requirements of todays’ shareholders.

P.S.

Since this article was written, Shell has announced its commitment to take significant additional action on climate change, including a commitment to achieve net zero emissions. There’s no clarity, however, on how that commitment is tied to day to day business.

Gerard Kreeft, BA (Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA ) and  MA (Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), Energy Transition Adviser, was founder and owner of EnergyWise.  He has managed and implemented energy conferences, seminars and master classes in Alaska, Angola, Brazil, Canada, India, Libya, Kazakhstan, Russia and throughout Europe. He writes on a regular basis for Africa Oil +Gas Report.


AfDB Is Not Supporting the East African Crude Oil Project

The African Development Bank has refuted the claims in a news article that it plans to provide financial support to the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project.

It doesn’t name the medium, nor cite the headline, but says it “strongly refutes the claims in the misleading article, which references a letter by a group of civil society organizations and climate change advocates asking the institution to withdraw from the project due to its potential social and environmental damage”.

The facts, according to AfDB:

  1. The NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) has not provided financing to any Private Sector Company for upstream oil or gas pipeline projects in East Africa.
  2. No commitment was therefore made to any party to fund the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project. The project is not included in the Bank’s lending programme.
  3. The Bank is strongly committed to renewable energies.

Then the bank beats its chest

“It is important to point out that the African Development Bank Group has for more than a decade played a leading role in crafting policies and delivering investments that promote sustainable development practices on the continent, including climate adaptation and resilience.

“The Bank is committed to facilitating the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient development in African countries across all its operational priority areas”.

 


MOMAN Outlines Agenda to Take Nigeria Out of ‘Subsidy Trap’

Nigeria’s petroleum product marketers, under the aegis of Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), have outlined a comprehensive agenda to take the nation out of the gasoline subsidy regime, which cost around $2Billion to service in the last one year.

The roadmap contains five clear messages, starting with the government divesting  the power to increase or decrease  petroleum prices, and including calls for annulling the Price Equalization Fund (PEF), discontinuation of Direct sales and Direct Purchase (DSDP)  programme, amending the law setting up the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and inaugurating an open access to foreign exchange to all petroleum product importers.

This radical blueprint of reforms, from one of the several stakeholders in Nigeria’s downstream sector, is contained in a statement by Tunji Oyebanji, Chairman of MOMAN.

In it, the association requests:

  • A fundamental and radical change in legislation is necessary. The clear and obvious risk is that the country has never been able to increase pump prices under the PPPRA Act, leading to high and unsustainable subsidies and depriving other key sectors of the economy of necessary funds.
  • Purchase costs and open market sales prices for petroleum products should not be fixed but monitored against anticompetitive and antitrust abuses by the already established competition commission and subject to its clearly stated rules and regulations.
  • A level playing field. Everybody should have access to foreign exchange at competitive rates to be able to import and sell petrol at a pump price taking its landing and distribution costs into consideration.
  • Discontinuation of the Direct sales and Direct Purchase (DSDP)  programme. All foreign exchange proceeds from all sales of crude be paid into the same pool from which all importers can access foreign exchange at the same rate.”
  • The Price Equalization Fund mechanism should be discontinued and its law repealed as the cost of administration of equalization has become too high and the unequal application of payments by marketers distorts the market and creates market inequities and unfair competition. Internal equalization has been the practice with diesel distribution and sales since 2010 when diesel was fully deregulated.
  • The pricing system should allow internal equalisation by marketers which would be both competitive and equitable.
  • Fuel import should enjoy priority access in allocation of foreign exchange, again through a transparent auditable and audited process of open bidding. Conditions for accessing foreign exchange should be streamlined and specific delays before access imposed unilaterally on the downstream oil industry should be discontinued as being inequitable.”

MOMAN said it was stating its position, in the context of the announcement by Timipre  Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, that the government would implement a policy of “price modulation”, which means, in MOMAN’s view, that the state will give effect to existing legislation enabling it to set prices in line with market realities through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) as provided in its Act.

“The clear and obvious risk is that the country has never been able to increase pump prices under this law, leading to high and unsustainable subsidies and depriving other key sectors of the economy of necessary funds”, MOMAN stated.

MOMAN admits that “there is no country or economy where governments do not have the power to influence prices”, however, “Governments use economic tools such as taxes or interventions on the demand side or the supply side of the market and other administrative interventions to influence prices where it needs to”.

“The problem here is that government has retained for itself by law the power and the responsibility to fix pump prices of PMS which is what puts it under so much pressure and costs the country so much in terms of under-recoveries or subsidies when it cannot increase prices when necessary to do so.

”It makes sense to relieve itself of this obligation now when crude prices are low and resort to influencing prices using the same tools it does for any other commodity or item on the market”.

“Our current situation, laid bare by the challenges of Coronavirus to the health of our citizens in particular and and economy of our country in general, demands that we are honest with ourselves at this time. A fundamental and radical change in legislation is necessary.

“When crude oil prices go up, government has always been unable to increase pump prices for socio-political reasons leading to these high subsidies and we believe the only solution is to remove the power of the government to determine fuel pump prices altogether by law.”

MOMAN recommends a legal and operational framework comprising of a downstream Industry operations regulator, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) or Competition Commission (for pricing issues) and the interplay between demand and supply which will ensure a level playing field, protect the Nigerian Consumer and curb any market abuse or attempts to deliberately cause inequities in the system by any stakeholder.

“In line with change management principles, consultation and engagement with market players should clearly spell out the path and final destination which is full price deregulation”.

 


OPEC still has an important role to play in Global Oil Market

By Sebastian Wagner

Scan Western news about OPEC from the last few years, and a common observation tends to appear: OPEC had a huge influence on the global oil market back in the day. Now, in the shale oil era, not so much.

I would argue that OPEC can safely state that reports of its death—or dwindling relevance—are greatly exaggerated. In fact, OPEC has been at the center of one of the biggest stories of 2020 aside from COVID-19: a historic deal that resolved the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

From 2016 to late March, the two oil powerhouses had been part of a loose alliance of OPEC members and non-member producers known as OPEC+. Its purpose was to stabilize the global oil market through voluntary production cuts. The alliance was a success until early this year, when COVID-19 effectively shut down China’s economy and dramatically reduced its crude oil imports. To restore market balance, OPEC member Saudi Arabia asked OPEC+ member Russia to increase its production cuts. When Russia refused, Saudi Arabia stopped complying with its own production cuts and, instead, started flooding the market with oil. Russia followed suit, and plans to renew the OPEC+ agreement on April 1 were abandoned. Crude oil prices went into freefall, and U.S. shale oil producers started struggling to survive. It didn’t help when COVID-19 began forcing lockdowns around the globe, resulting in plummeting demand for crude and even lower oil prices.

The world was watching closely when Saudi and Russian leaders attended an emergency OPEC/OPEC+ meeting on April 9. After three days of negotiations, OPEC and OPEC+ members agreed to massive production cuts starting with nearly 10 million barrels per day May 1. The cuts, which will gradually decrease, will continue through April 2022. While low demand remains a concern, by stabilizing the oil market, OPEC+ will still provide economic relief and save jobs around the world. Shortly after the product-cut agreement was finalized, exhausted Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman shared his exhilaration with Bloomberg News. “We have demonstrated that OPEC+ is up, running, and alive.”

Indeed. Both OPEC and OPEC+ are very much alive and as relevant as ever.

A New Era?

Despite the condescending descriptions of OPEC I’ve read in American media coverage, I am seeing signs that U.S. leaders are starting to look at OPEC with newfound respect. Even one of the organization’s most outspoken American critics, President Donald Trump, had generous words for OPEC the evening before its April 9 meeting. “Obviously for many years I used to think OPEC was very unfair,” Trump said during a press briefing. “I hated OPEC. You want to know the truth? I hated it. Because it was a fix. But somewhere along the line that broke down and went the opposite way.”

Then there’s Ryan Sitton of the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the exploration, production, and transportation of oil and natural gas in Texas. He responded to the Saudi-Russia oil price war by reaching out to OPEC and proposing statewide oil production cuts. After a one-hour photo call with OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo, Sitton was invited to attend OPEC’s June meeting in Vienna.

While I applaud Sitton’s initiative, I couldn’t help noticing what a departure it was from America’s usual “OPEC playbook.” U.S. energy policy has been driven by a strong desire to “free” the country’s oil and gas industry from OPEC’s influence. As recently as 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives attempted to pass the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC) (https://bit.ly/3bpS3h5). Had this harmful bill been approved, the U.S. Attorney General would have been empowered to bring antitrust lawsuits against OPEC and its member countries. The legislation likely would have jeopardized foreign investments in the U.S. oil and gas industry and cost America valuable commercial partnerships.

How dramatically things have changed. Two years after NOPEC was proposed, we had a representative from the powerful Texas Railroad commission offering to work with OPEC to help balance the market.

While it’s unclear whether Texas will cut production, Sitton’s decision to open communication with OPEC is a positive, and I hope other U.S. industry leaders will consider the same. Instead of viewing OPEC as the enemy, dismissing it, or avoiding it, why not learn to understand this important organization and lay the foundation for a productive relationship?

Gaining Perspective

I suggest starting with Amazon’s bestselling book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, which includes a chapter titled “A Place at the Table: Africa and OPEC.” Yes, the chapter covers the value OPEC membership offers African nations, but its insights are relevant to everyone with ties to the oil and gas industry.

The background on OPEC’s 2016 Declaration of Cooperation is particularly timely. It was that agreement among OPEC producers and 11 non-members that resulted in OPEC+. For the first time in OPEC’s history, member countries agreed to work with non-member countries to stabilize the global oil market after increased U.S. shale oil production triggered low prices. Together, participating countries committed to voluntary production adjustments of 1.8 million barrels per day. Until the extraordinary chain of events set off by COVID-19, the OPEC+ alliance remained firmly in place.

The book also delves into the reasons OPEC membership has so much to offer African oil-producers: strength in numbers and a commitment to unity. “The organization says that every new member adds to the group’s stability and strengthens members’ commitment to one another,” the book explains. “Different perspectives create a rich culture where colleagues can learn from one another, anticipate and respond to the complexity of today’s oil markets, and ultimately, influence prices.”

It’s not always a seamless process, but OPEC continues to achieve those objectives. And as we go forward, this kind of unified approach will remain critical. Most likely, the global oil and gas industry will be forced to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19 and low oil demand for an unknown period of time. Instead of working at cross purposes, oil-producing countries will need to continue cooperating to find solutions, embrace opportunities, and keep the industry alive.

Wagner is the Chair of the German African Business Forum and the CEO of DMWA Resources, a pan-African energy marketing & investment firm. Worked for Trafigura & affiliated companies in oil trading, responsible for managing trading operations and pursuing pre-financing opportunities in around Africa.


ExxonMobil Heralds Reduction of Nigerian Rig Count

With its widely publicized notification of early termination of the contracts for the jackups Gerd and Groa offshore Nigeria, ExxonMobil has effectively inaugurated the widely anticipated reduction of the Nigerian rig activity.

Gerd and Groa, owned by Borr Drilling, were on locations in Asasa and Oyot fields in Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 67 and 70 respectively, as of early April 2020.

Now other announcements of terminations of rig contracts by other companies are expected to follow, as market conditions worsen.

The two Borr rigs were under contracts originally committed until April 2021 and May 2021. The contracts for both rigs require 180-day notice for early termination.

Borr, a New York Stok Exchange listed company, says it is in discussions with ExxonMobil with regards to planning the discontinuity of operations.

Nigerian rig activity was at a three year high in January 2020, with 32 rigs in various stages of operations on as many locations.

But the combination of COVID-19 and a price war has, since then, has gutted the hydrocarbon industry worldwide, with cargoes of crude oil sloshing around looking for buyers.

 

 

 

 


Angola Needs to Drill More Oil Wells to Produce Gas

By Sully Manope, in Soyo

Angola’s LNG plant has dropped in production as a result of reduced amount of natural gas that come from the crude oil platforms that supply it.

It sounds intriguing, but the plant relies entirely on associated gas: natural gas which cohabits in the same reservoirs as crude oil.

ALNG’s production capacity is 5.2 Million Tonnes Per Annum (5.2MMTPA). The train can process up to 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day,

Diamantino Azevedo, Angolan Minister of Mineral Resources and Oil is quoted by Angolan state news agency Angop, as saying that additional investments are needed in drilling more oil wells in the country, in order to increase the natural gas that is channelled to ALNG plant “to reach the installed production capacity.” The minister reportedly added: “This is a challenge that Angola LNG and the country have to take on, in order to achieve capacity and maintain project stability over a long period of time”.

The immediate challenge to Mr. Azevedo’s wish is the immediate status of Angolan rig count. Angolan rig activity figures had crashed from robust 22 in September 2015 to 4 in August 2018, according to the August /September 2018 edition of the monthly Africa Oil+Gas Report.

Angolan LNG has had its fair share of challenges since it came on line in 2013. Barely a year after commissioning, it faced an extended plant shutdown of more than two years from April 2014 to June 2016 to fix a number of design issues that caused an incident on 10 April 2014

That situation led Chevron, the operator, to create an internal project management system to better track contractors and subcontractors on major projects. Chevron is the largest stakeholder in the facility, holding a 36.4% interest, with partners that include Sonangol, 22.8%, and BP,  ENI and TOTAL, with 13.6% each.

 


Angola LNG sells its first domestic butane cargo

The local market is top priority

Angola LNG has sold its first pressurised domestic butane cargo from its plant in Soyo, the facility built to create value from Angola’s offshore gas resources.

The first cargo was sold to Sonangol Gás Natural Limitada on a Free on Board (FOB) Soyo basis and safely loaded onto the pressurised butane carrier Astrid.

Sales of butane from Angola LNG will be prioritised for the domestic market, with any remaining butane committed for sale – on an FOB Soyo basis – to all of Angola LNG’s shareholder affiliates, for export markets.

The pressurised butane jetty was commissioned immediately prior to commencement of loading operations. Commissioning included the testing of safety devices, mooring arrangements and loading arms. All three jetties (LNG; refrigerated propane, butane and condensate; and pressurised butane) have now been commissioned and used to safely and successfully load cargoes.

Commenting on the first domestic butane cargo Artur Pereira, CEO, Angola LNG Marketing said: “Loading and sale of the first domestic butane cargo marks a further landmark in Angola LNG’s history. This, and future, pressurised butane cargoes will support Angola’s domestic energy needs, to help power the country’s growth and development.”

Angola LNG Limited is an incorporated joint venture between Sonangol, Chevron, BP, ENI and Total that will gather and process gas to produce and deliver LNG and NGLs. The plant has an expected duration of at least 30 years.


South Africa Warms Up To Gas

First it was the National Planning Commission report. Then came the Cabinet’s lifting of moratorium.

Overnight, the mainstream thinking of the South African political and business elite has changed from “gas-is-not-on-the cards” to “its -okay-to-include-gas-in-the mix”.

The South African National Planning Commission’s revised plan, released in August 2012, repeated its cautionary note on the cost of nuclear power, the country’s preferred alternative to fossil fuels, and suggested a diverse mix of energy sources. The Commission said: “If gas reserves are proven, and environmental concerns alleviated, then development of these resources and gas-to-power projects should be fast-tracked.”

Several days after the Planning Commission’s report was aired all over the media, the government lifted a year- long moratorium on Shale Gas Exploration.

And then, the South African media went agog with discussions about the imperative of gas in the country’s energy mix.

South Africa’s energy policy has not always viewed natural gas, the world’s least polluting fossil fuel, as an important resource for its planned, massive increase in electricity supply capacity.

The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the country, published as a government gazette in May 2011, envisages an addition of 42, 600MW of new build electricity generation capacity between 2010 and 2030, to all existing and committed power plants. The plan assumes a nuclear fleet of 9,600MW; 6,300MW of coal; 17,800 MW of renewable;  and 8,900 MW of other generation sources, which includes only 2, 400MW of close cycle gas turbine generated power.

The installed open cycle gas turbines currently generate 1,316MW, or a mere 4% of the country’s nameplate capacity. Two of these four gas plants-the 588MW Ankerlig plant and the 438MW Gourikwa plant- were commissioned only in the last six years. Before they were built, the country was generating just 342MW (171MW each) from two plants: Acacia and Port Rex. South Africa’s power utility Eskom currently supplies 45% of Africa’s power and 95% of its own country’s electricity, mostly from coal-fired plants. There’s limited space for more private sector generation in the medium to the long term.

We have argued, in this magazine, that even the 2,400MW of gas fired electricity in the IRP, a 20 year resource plan envisaging a build of  42, 600MW, is a mere after thought. The national conversation around energy issues in South Africa has involved every conceivable energy source but natural gas. The roll out for installation of renewable energy plants has kicked in; there’s a vibrant discussion of the possibility of scaling up nuclear power generation in the country, even if there are more skeptics than optimists; and the place of coal in the country’s energy future is assured.

But no one was, really, discussing gas until recently. The IRP had extensive input from a wide range of stakeholders in the energy industry.

A key reason for the aversion to gas utilization in S.A’s energy mix is that while the country doesn’t have much gas reserves, it considers the cost of imported gas as rather too high.  Take this liner in the plan:  “The import coal and hydro options are preferred to local options, but imported gas is not preferred to local gas options”. So, even while South Africa has the opportunity to benefit from the recent natural gas finds offshore Mozambique, one of the  most significant hydrocarbon discoveries  on the planet in the last 10 years.

The current upbeat mood about gas in the South African national conversation is driven largely by the optimism that Shale gas exploration would unlock trillions of cubic feet of shale gas in the Karoo.

The discussion still has not accommodated nuanced reviews of the opportunities afforded by gas pools in neighbouring countries.


BG Achieves First Gas From West Delta Deep Marine Concession Phase IV

UK OPERATOR, BG HAS MADE THE FIRST delivery of gas from the West Delta Deep Marine concession Phase IV project (WDDM IV) into Egypt’s domestic natural gas market. WDDM IV was sanctioned by the Egyptian government and partners on the project in May 2006 to deliver gas from seven additional deepwater wells in the Scarab/Saffron and Simian subsea fields. BG says that the delivery date was one month ahead of schedule, the project was delivered under budget and with a successful safety record, achieving 2.5 million man hours with no lost time injuries. The project also marks the first time that all subsea structures were fabricated entirely in Egypt by Petrojet, an affiliate of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC). Ian Hewitt, President of BG Egypt, said, among other things: “This is a great example of sustainable development where BG Egypt, as well as delivering on local content obligations, has also worked to improve the capability of the local contractor.”


Nigeria’s National Domestic Gas Supply And Pricing Policy

INTRODUCTION – Policy Aspirations GIVEN THE ABUN DANCE OF NIGERIA’S gas resources, Government has identified the accelerated development of the domestic gas sector as a focal strategy for achieving the national aspiration of aggressive GDP growth (10% increase per annum). Domestic gas is defined as gas utilized locally within the shores of Nigeria either for home, industrial and/or electric power use. Specifically for industrial use, gas used in value adding industries such as methanol, fertilizer etc. is considered domestic gas, regardless of whether the end product (i.e. fertilizer, methanol) is consumed locally or exported.

Gas export (LNG and pipeline) provide high returns to government through tax receipts and dividends for equity stake. However, it is recognized that beyond economic rent, there are broader strategic benefits to the economy that may be attained from the domestic utilization and value addition to natural gas. In essence, in addition to exporting of natural gas, Nigeria must develop strategies to ensure increased domestic utilization.

Rising gas prices in key international markets however continues to create a preferential pull for exports. Consequently, there is a disproportionate focus by gas suppliers in the country for LNG projects. This is creating an anomaly in Nigeria where there is now a significant shortfall in the availability of gas for domestic utilization. The continued shortfall directly threatens the economic aspirations of the nation which if unchecked may result in Nigeria supporting the development of the economies of the industrialized nations at the expense of its own economy.

The energy requirement to sustain an aggressive GDP growth is enormous. Currently, total demand (export and domestic) for natural gas far outstrips supply. The demand is driven by growth in the Power sector and other gas based industries such as Fertilizer, Methanol, LNG etc.  Gas demand is forecast to grow from the current level of 4bcf/d to about 20bcf/d by 2010. In the short term, the growth in the domestic sector is particularly most aggressive, growing from less than 1 bcf/d in 2006 to about 7 bcf/d by 2010.  This demand growth is underpinned largely by the power sector and by an increasing requirement by large industries such as fertilizer and methanol that require gas in high quantities. These industries which are unable to compete in high gas cost locations have expressed strong interest in relocating to Nigeria.

Nigeria needs to demonstrate availability and affordability of gas or else risk losing these industries to competing nations like Egypt, Trinidad etc. The scale of demand growth relative to supply growth creates an immediate availability challenge. In addition, is the challenge of price affordability and hence gas pricing. The domestic demand sectors such as electric power, fertilizer, methanol etc. have varying capacity to bear gas prices (Fig. 1). For example, the Nigerian Power sector has a lower gas price threshold than a Methanol industry. Government is however keen to stimulate the growth of all these sectors. Timely availability, affordability and commerciality of supply of natural gas is a critical pre-condition for realizing the government’s aspiration for the domestic economy.

In recognition of the urgent need for domestic gas availability and a pricing framework to drive and sustain a major gas based industrialization in Nigeria, this policy document seeks to:

l. provide solutions to the issue of gas pricing;

2. address domestic gas supply availability in a manner that delicately balances the need for domestic economic growth and revenue generation from exports; and

3. provide an implementation approach for the gas pricing that enables the full participation of all gas suppliers in the country in a manner that ensures sustained gas supply to the domestic market.

B) GROUPING OF NIGERIA’S DOMESTIC DEMAND SECTORS

The need for a pricing strategy that recognises the diversity in the ability of the various industrial sub-sectors to bear gas price cannot be overstated. Such strategy will not only enable and sustain diversity of the demand sectors, thereby enabling Nigeria to benefit from the industrialisation potential that is inherent in gas, it will also enable the selective maximization of net revenues for Nigerian gas from sectors that are most able to deliver that direct economic benefit.

From a gas pricing strategy perspective, Government has grouped the entire domestic demand into three broad groupings. This grouping is in recognition of the fact that the different demand sectors have different strategic benefits to the country and different pricing considerations. Fig. 2.1 below presents the three categories. Any demand sector will fall into one of these categories and where there is a lack of clarity, the Minister for Energy will determine the classification of such sector. Fig 2.1: Grouping of Gas Demand Sector

The groupings are:

Strategic Domestic Sector — This refers to a very limited set of sectors that have a significant direct multiplier effect on the economy namely the Power Sector (residential and light commercial users) or other sector that the Honourable Minister for Energy may from time to time consider applicable. The strategic intent in gas pricing is to facilitate and ensure low cost gas access to these sectors in order to spur rapid economic growth.

Strategic Industrial Sector  – This refers to industries that utilise gas as feedstock in the production of value added products that are primarily destined for export or in some cases, consumed locally. Strategically, these sectors ensure that value is added to Nigerian gas before it is exported. The process of value addition ensures industrialisation, job creation etc. Typical projects in this group are Methanol, GTL and Fertilizer. For this sector, the strategic intent in pricing is to ensure that feedgas price is affordable and predictable in order to ensure competitiveness of the products in international markets in the face of competition from other gas producing countries such as Qatar, Trinidad etc. that provide gas at very low prices to buyers.

Commercial Sectors — This refers to sectors that use gas as fuel as opposed to feedstock. Unlike the two previous classifications, projects in this category are a potential major direct revenue earner for Nigerian gas in view of their capacity to bear high gas prices as the competing alternative fuel is LPFO. Typical sectors in this category include cement and domestic manufacturing industries, industrial Power etc.

(C) GAS PRICING REFORM – LIQUIDS BASED PRICINGAPPROACH

A widely known characteristic of Nigerian gas is its relative richness in liquids i.e. NGLs. NGLs continue to attract a high price in international markets (similar trend in crude oil pricing). As a result of the potential high revenue that comes from NGLs produced in conjunction with residue dry gas, it is possible for a gas supply project to accommodate a relatively lower price for the residue dry gas and still be a profitable supply project. Residue dry gas is used mostly in the domestic market.

This gas pricing policy aims to exploit this intrinsic value of NGLs in deriving a relatively low gas price for the strategic domestic sector – Power. It is recognized that not all gas resources in the country are rich in NGLs, consequently, it is intended that this philosophy be applied selectively — especially in the short term as the Power sector is currently unable to pay higher price for gas (in view of the low end user power tarrif that currently obtains in Nigeria).  It is however the expectation that in the medium term, power tariff will be more commercial and a higher gas price will be achievable.

Based on an assumption of $40/bbl long run NGL price, it has been established that across the Niger Delta, there is a limited volume of gas reserves for which the marginal cost of development and supply can be met profitably with a dry gas price of $0. l/mcf. This assumes that the supplier receives $0.1 /mcf for the residue dry gas in addition to other NGL revenues at $40/bbl. It is the intent of this policy that this category of gas reserves be deployed for use in the strategic domestic sectors. $0.1 0/mmbtu is therefore established as the floor price for the strategic domestic sector. This low price is in line with the strategic intent of ensuring a low cost gas supply to those critical sectors of the economy.

In addition, based on existing transmission infrastructure costs in Nigeria and international benchmarks, a transmission tarrif (on postage stamp basis) of $0.30/mmbtu is proposed. The Honourable Minister for Energy may revisit this tariff from time to time as appropriate.

D) THE GAS PRICING FRAMEWORK

The gas pricing framework proposed in this policy is a transitional pricing arrangement. The Honourable Minister of Energy (Gas) will monitor the environment and determine when the domestic market is fully developed and an alternative pricing approach is required.

It is important to establish that the pricing framework does not fix prices. It barely sets out a transparent structure for determining  the floor price for dry gas for 3 categories of demand sectors presented in section B. The floor price is the lowest price that gas can be supplied to a particular category of demand sector. The actual price paid is based on an indexation formula jointly determined during negotiation between the buyer and seller. In essence, the market actually determines the price by establishing the indexation mechanism.

Figure 3.1 below presents a schematic of the pricing framework. Three distinct price regimes are evident in the framework, corresponding to three different approaches for determining the floor price. The three approaches include

1. Cost of supply basis (regulated pricing regime)

2. Product netback price basis and (pseudo- regulated pricing regime)

3. Alternative fuels basis. (market led regime)

The Regulated Pricing Regime (cost of supply basis): This pricing approach applies specifically to the strategic domestic sectors of Power. As discussed in section C, the floor price for this category is determined primarily by establishing the lowest cost of supply that allows a 15% rate of return to the supplier. This has been established as $0. l/mmbtu for a limited volume of gas reserves. These reserves will therefore be assumed dedicated to the strategic domestic sector.

The Pseudo-Regulated Pricing Regime (Product Netback basis): The second floor price determination approach applies strictly to strategic industrial sectors i.e. sectors that use the gas as feedstock. For this group, the floor price is not based on the cost of supply of the gas, but on the netback of the product price. The product price used in determining the floor price is the assumed long run price of the product. With this approach, the pricing of gas will better reflect the ability of the sector to pay given the price of its product. However, since the intention of this policy is not to support sectors that are unviable i.e. sectors whose netback price translates to a gas floor price lower than the cost of supply of gas, the consideration of affordability will not be at the expense of sustainability of gas supply.

The Market Led Regime (Alternative Fuels Basis): The third floor price determination approach applies to all other sectors that use gas as fuel or wholesale buyers buying gas for subsequent resale. For this category, the price of gas is indexed to the price of alternative fuel such as LPFO. The indexation will be established during negotiation.

The foregoing structure provides the basis for the pricing framework illustrated below. Three segments can be identified in the framework consistent with the three demand sector groupings, starting with the lowest priced sector, the strategic domestic sector to the highest priced sector — the commercial sectors. It is assumed that pricing for each demand sector will transition to the next higher pricing band once a saturation level has been attained. For example, for the strategic domestic sector, once the domestic requirement has been met (domestic saturation point) and Power is now being exported, the framework proposes that export Power benefits from a relatively higher price, determined by the netbacking philosophy applied to strategic industrial sectors such as methanol. Similarly, once the capacity of a strategic industrial sector exceeds an export saturation limit (i.e. once Nigeria’s export capacity for that sector e.g. fertilizer is assumed to have reached an acceptable limit), any incremental capacity will attract a much higher price consistent with that of commercial sector buyers. Through this transitional mechanism, pricing can be aligned with required capacities within the economy.

Indexation

It is important to reiterate that the entire gas pricing framework simply specifies the floor price. Actual prices will include an escalation for inflation and an indexation to real time product price (which may be higher than the long run price used in the determination of the floor price) and/or any other indices considered appropriate by both buyer and seller of the gas. The indexation will be determined through a process of negotiation.

(E) IMPLFMINTATION

(i)The Downstream Gas Act

To underpin the proposed pricing framework, Government will establish a Gas Regulatory Agency, the Gas Regulatory Commission, through the proposed Downstream Gas Act. Amongst other functions, the Commission will have the power, where necessary, to regulate the price of gas supplied and utilized in the downstream gas sector and the power to promote reliable and efficient use of gas throughout Nigeria. It will also have the power to monitor and impose pricing restrictions on licensees. Pending the establishment of this GRC however, an interim agency will be set up by the Minister as a department within the Ministry of Energy (Gas).

Consistent with the pricing principles established by the Act, the Commission will have the power to regulate the prices charged by licensees where competition has not developed to such an extent as to protect the interest of consumers. The relevant pricing principles in this regard are cost reflectivity, price disaggregation and the earning of a reasonable return on investment by licensees.

A Transitional Pricing Plan setting out temporary or transitional pricing arrangements allowing for a gradual transition towards pricing arrangements that are consistent with the pricing principles above is required to be introduced by the Downstream Gas Regulatory Agency. The gas pricing framework presented in this policy document is designed to achieve this objective.

(ii) Domestic Gas Reserves and Production Obligation

In implementing this pricing policy, it is essential that there is sufficient gas available for the various demand sectors. To facilitate this, a domestic gas supply and reserves obligation will be imposed on all operators in the country. In essence, all gas (AG and NAG) asset holders will be required to dedicate a specific proportion of their gas reserves and production for supply to the domestic market. This is the “Domestic Reserves Obligation”.

The reserve obligation will be broken down annually to a production obligation for the same period. The sum total of all obligations will equal the planned domestic requirement for the stated period. Periodical reviews to the domestic obligation will take place to reflect the changing demographics of the demand and supply landscape i.e. new demand will be allocated accordingly as new suppliers come on stream. The Minister for Energy will periodically stipulate the reserves and production obligation of the various operators. The allocation of the obligation across operators will be based on the principles of equity to be determined by the Minister.

(iii) The Aggregate Gas Price and the Strategic Gas Aggregator

The gas pricing framework stipulates a pricing regime for various demand sectors ranging from a floor price of about $0.l/mcf for the strategic domestic sectors to over $2/mcf for the commercial sectors. The Aggregate Domestic Gas Price is the forecast average domestic price based on the projected total domestic demand portfolio using the relevant prices proposed by this framework.

All suppliers of gas in the country will be paid the aggregate domestic gas price. A target aggregate price will be set by the Gas Regulator based on the known portfolio of domestic demand. The portfolio will be balanced continually to ensure that the aggregate price does not fall below the threshold. In essence, the suppliers have a fixed price whilst the buyers will pay the sector price proposed in the framework. The aggregate pricing will ensure that regardless of their geographical location all suppliers are able to benefit from the high priced customers as well as from the low priced buyers. The aggregate price will ensure that the suppliers receive an acceptable return for their domestic obligation.

A Strategic Aggregator (under the auspice of the Department of Gas or the GRC) will manage the implementation of the domestic reserves and production obligation and the aggregate price. It will ensure a balanced growth of the domestic portfolio such that the target minimum aggregate price is achieved whilst not compromising the nation’s primary objective for economic growth by ensuring the availability of adequate volumes of gas to the strategic domestic sectors.

Conceptually, the Strategic Aggregator acts as a one stop intermediary point between the suppliers and the diverse demand sectors and will ensure that gas is supplied at the aggregated price. Through a Gas Management Model, the Strategic Aggregator plays the role of portfolio manager on behalf of all suppliers the primary objective being to preserve a minimum aggregate price portfolio. When the aggregate price is higher than the minimum threshold, an agreed portion will be paid out to the suppliers whilst the balance will be retained as cushion in the event that the portfolio mix for unavoidable reasons falls below the target minimum threshold.

Conclusion

The National Domestic Gas Supply and Pricing Policy therefore aims to fully align the gas sector with the economic growth aspiration of the nation. This policy will be applied in conjunction with the Gas Pricing regulations and modifications thereto.

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