All posts tagged opinion


Nigeria’s unending Gas Dilemma, By Adedayo Ojo

Nigeria has enormous gas resources. The official estimates of the country’sojo natural gas reserves is in the region of 187 trillion cubic feet (TCF). Despite a history of more than 50 years of oil production, Nigeria is predominantly a gas province.
Almost every successive Nigerian government aspired at one time or the other to legislate a regulation that will optimize the use of the country’s vast gas resources. Quite a good number gas projects have been conceptualized but unfortunately few have been actualized. The bottom line is that decades after the discovery of gas in commercial quantity, Nigeria’s gas sector and gas system remains underdeveloped.
Today’s reality in the international oil and gas market requires Nigeria to wake up and make something of the gas resources or be left behind countries that are more committed to utilizing their gas resources. Ghana’s gas company is expected to begin production this year. If the tension in the Middle East abates (as it may), oil & gas prices will drop!
Gas Aspiration
Several Nigerian government policies have highlighted plans to monetise gas resources. In 2008, the Federal Government developed the Gas Master Plan (GMP) in order to lay a framework for gas infrastructure development and expansion within the domestic market. According to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the GMP is a guide for the commercial exploitation and management of Nigeria’s gas sector which seeks to grow the Nigerian economy with gas. The GMP has three key strategies, namely to stimulate the multiplier effect of gas in the domestic economy, position Nigeria competitively in high value export markets and guarantee the long term energy security of Nigeria.
In response to government policy, a number of ambitious gas projects were initiated by both government and the private sector. Some of the most popular gas projects and initiatives include;
a) Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Projects

b) Trans –Sahara Gas Pipeline Project

c) The West Africa Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP)

d) Gas To Power Projects Around The Country

Liquefied Natural Gas
Despite initial momentum on LNG projects, Nigeria remains far behind. Production started from trains 1 and 2 at the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited in 1999. By 2007, NLNG added four more trains. Although the seventh train has been planned, six years later, it hasn’t been sanctioned.
Apart from NLNG, other planned LNG projects include Brass LNG and Olokola LNG (OKLNG). Final investment Decision (FID) on Brass LNG was planned for 2006; it was later rescheduled for 2008; then 2010. The FID was never realised on any of those dates; nor has it been now. The same applies to OKLNG. The shareholders of OKLNG signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2006; FID was billed for 2007 while production was scheduled to begin in 2009.
The originally proposed dates for streaming these projects have long expired; yet final investment decision (FID) has not been taken on any of the projects. In all these years, not much has been accomplished on Brass LNG and OKLNG.

Other countries have shown more commitment with LNG projects. Consider Australia. In 2011 alone, four LNG projects in Australia reach FID. These projects include: Australian Pacific LNG T1, GLNG T1-2, Wheatstone LNG T1-2 and Prelude LNG. Another Australian project, the two train, Ichthys LNG T1reached FID in January 2012.

According to the international Gas Union, Qatar, the world’s largest LNG exporter produced 77 metric tonnes per annum in 2011, about 31 per cent of global supply. Meanwhile new LNG frontiers have emerged in Eastern Africa such the Anadarko’s LNG project in Mozambique and the onshore LNG project by BG in Tanzania.

The United States, a former net importer of LNG is now turning away cargoes while increasingly relying on unconventional domestic gas, such as shale gas, to meet its energy need. In addition, the United States plans to become a net exporter of gas in less than a decade, effectively shrinking the global gas market.

The chokehold in the world LNG market and the emergence of new supplier nations will ultimately make Nigeria’s position increasingly vulnerable if the country’s LNG projects are allowed to continue to suffer. If FIDs on existing LNG projects in Nigeria are not taken now, the global LNG market will become increasing tougher for the country and more so in the coming years.

Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline

In January 2002, the Nigerian and Algerian governments, through their respective national oil companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build a Trans-Saharan gas pipeline running from Nigeria to Algeria to make Nigerian gas available to European market.

Since the signing of the MoU eleven years ago, not much has happened on the project except the feasibility study and intergovernmental agreement between the governments. As a result of the decade-long inactivity, it does appear that the project may have been abandoned.

Dr Ghaji Bello, Acting Director of Nigeria’s Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) said in Abuja in January that the Federal Government of Nigeria has earmarked $400 million for the project in the 2013 budget. Industry analysts received the news with scepticism in view of apparent non-commitment to the project.

West African Pipeline Project
The West African Gas Pipeline is a 680-kilometre gas transport project jointly-owned by Shell, Chevron and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) forming the African Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPCo). The project takes Nigerian gas from Itoki in Ogun State through Agido near Badagry in Lagos, passing through 33 Nigerian communities to Togo, Benin Republic and Ghana. West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPCo) and the participating countries signed an International Project Agreement (IPA) in May 2003 to pipe 200million standard cubic per day of gas (200mmscf).

Over the years, this project has failed to deliver the anticipated volume of gas due to a plethora of reasons – policy, politics, infrastructure, funding, security, etc.

Central to the operation of WAGPCo is the availability of gas. With vandalism and associated shut-ins, gas supply is never guaranteed.
As a result unavailability of gas, an average of 134mmscf is often piped in the 475mmscf capacity pipeline, thus making the $1billion facility to be sub-optimally utilised.

Other Gas Projects

Ironically, it is in the smaller gas projects operated by small Nigeria independents that real success has been observed. Consider the Ovade-Ogharefe gas processing facility, the largest carbon emission reduction project in sub Saharan Africa. The first phase of Pan Ocean’s gas utilization project which was streamed in 2010 has capacity to process 130 million standard cubic feet of gas per day. Pan Ocean is expected to stream the second phase of its Ovade-Ogharefe gas project before the end of 2013.

Uquo gas project: Seven Energy and Frontier Oil have made commendable progress on Uquo gas project. The gas central processing facility (CPF) of the Uquo gas project is owned by Frontier and Seven Energy while Seven Energy through its subsidiary, Accugas, runs the pipeline. The gas is delivered to Ibom Power plant owned exclusively by Akwa Ibom State Government. Power generation at the Ibom Power Plant is tied to gas generated at Uquo. The project has the capacity to boost power generation in Nigeria by 1000 megawatts of electricity.

East Horizon Gas Company (EHGC), a subsidiary of Oando Plc, is a special purpose vehicle set up to Develop, Finance, Construct and Operate a gas transmission pipeline linking the Calabar Cluster of Industries to the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) grid in Akwa Ibom state. The company is embarking on a $125m project which involves the construction of an 18inch by128 kilometre (km) gas pipeline through forest, swamps and built up areas. The project has a total capacity of 100million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd).
Oando Gas and Power Limited has developed a robust natural gas distribution network. The company has built extensive pipeline network to distribute natural gas to industrial and commercial consumers and has successfully revived private sector participation in the gas distribution business in Nigeria. Oando has over 100km of pipes already laid in Lagos State and another 128 km in progress in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States.

If more players will be as committed as these not-so-big players, the collective contribution will add to big gains in the drive to grow the gas sector and optimize Nigeria’s gas resources.

Wake up call

The time left for Nigeria to make something tangible from her gas resources is running out. As we end the first quarter of 2013, policy makers and oil and gas industry operators have another opportunity to think long and hard and make the committed decision of making the Nigerian gas a key contributor to national economic life.

The largest obligation rests with the government. A robust and thriving gas sector would require good legal framework that will clearly specify the rules of engagement. The law will necessarily provide good fiscal terms that will encourage investment in the gas sector. The gas sector will only thrive under an effective regulatory structure. These are the necessary conditions that can ensure private sector commitment in the gas sector. It is the government that can provide them.

Adedayo Ojo is Lead Consultant/CEO of Caritas Communications Limited, a specialist reputation strategy and corporate communication consultancy in Lagos/Accra.
Caritas is the West Africa affiliate of Regester Larkin, the pioneer reputation strategy and management consultancy with offices in London, Washington, Houston, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.


Solving the World’s Energy Challenges: The Critical Role of the Private Sector

 By Samuel Bodman

 It’s A PLEASURE TO BE BACK INCAIRO. I would like to thank Omar (Mohanna President of American Chamber of Commerce In Cairo) for that kind introduction. I’m also honoured that my counterparts — Ministers Fahmy and Younes — have joined me at today’s lunch.

Let me get right to the point: the world needs safe, reliable, clean, affordable, and diverse energy supplies — and in considerably greater numbers than we now have. This is a global challenge, perhaps one of the most significant of our time — and one that you all understand acutely.

The International Energy Agency’s most recent World Energy Outlook, estimates that the world’s primary energy needs will grow by 55% by 2030.

Addressing this challenge in a timely way will require literally billions of dollars annually over many years. The IEA estimates that $22 trillion of investment will be needed between now and 2030 to meet expected demand.

We also know that this investment must occur around the world — in developed and developing nations alike — and at all stages of the energy cycle.

At the same time, we all must recognize the realities of global climate change and look for ways to develop cleaner sources of energy that at the very least do not worsen — and hopefully can improve — the health of our earth’s environment.

So the energy scenario we must confront is this: if we are to encourage economic growth around the world, if we are to raise living standards for all people of all nations, if we are to improve our environmental health, the world needs clean, affordable, diverse energy supplies, as well as new suppliers and supply routes. And achieving that demands responsible action both from consuming nations and producing nations.

I don’t want to sound too alarmist, but in some ways, what we are really talking about is reducing the world’s energy insecurity.

So what do we do about it? That answer is complex, of course, and the solution is multifaceted. But, it can be summarized this way: we must grow the pie of what’s available.

For conventional fuels, the principal challenges facing us are: Will the necessary investments be made to bring sufficient hydrocarbons to market? Is the investment climate in producing countries conducive to inviting such capital flows? Are large consuming nations having the right type of discussions and collaborations with producing nations? If not, why not? And, are we adequately investing in ways to produce fossil energy more cleanly and efficiently?

Beyond hydrocarbons, the world absolutely requires new energy options in the form of alternative fuels and advanced energy technologies: the development of commercially competitive cellulosic ethanol; advanced hybrid vehicle technologies — with a focus on developing better batteries; hydrogen fuel cells; solar energy, including an acceleration of the development of solar photovoltaics; high- efficiency wind power; and carbon sequestration and clean-coal technologies.

Besides, any global energy strategy must include efforts to expand access to emissions- free nuclear power in a way that responsibly manages waste and dramatically reduces proliferation risks. The Egyptian government shares this belief. It is a topic that I’ve been discussing with officials during my visit to Cairo, including this morning in my meeting with President Mubarak.

To advance this global effort, nearly two years ago President Bush introduced the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, which aims to facilitate the worldwide expansion of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in a safe and secure manner. Among other things, GNEP establishes the common goal of creating reliable fuel services that will provide a viable and economic alternative to the spread of sensitive nuclear technologies.

The partnership seeks to take advantage of the best available fuel cycle approaches to recycle spent nuclear fuel to reduce the amount of waste and tap its unused energy.

In all these areas — from traditional hydrocarbon development to alternative energy to nuclear power — governments certainly have a tremendously important role to play. But the public sector cannot do this job alone. Even our research priorities — the research and development agenda itself— must be developed with substantial input from corporations, utilities, and universities. And, research needs to be conducted in a coordinated way. As we ramp up research and development investment, I believe we also must find innovative approaches to get beneficial technologies out into the marketplace quickly and to share the risk that the capital markets and private sector are not yet ready to take on. In the United States we are doing this through a range of collaborative models, including cost-sharing partnerships and loan guarantees.

At the Energy Department, we are also establishing an Entrepreneur in Residence programme, which aims to bring venture capital- sponsored entrepreneurs into three of our National Laboratories to help commercialize new technologies. And we are developing a new Technology Commercialization and Deployment Fund. This fund will allow our laboratories to move clean energy technologies toward commercial viability though prototype development, demonstration projects, market research, and other deployment activities.

In general, our strategy recognizes that many of the transformative breakthroughs are likely to happen in and in conjunction with — the private sector. . . and that the government must take an active role in encouraging that activity. Personally, I believe that we are already seeing results.

Having spent a good chunk of my career in the financial sector, I can honestly say that for the first time in my life we are seeing the venture capital community put sizeable amounts of money into entrepreneurial companies in the alternative energy business.

In the first three quarters of 2007, investments in the so-called “clean tech” sector (which includes alternative energy and conservation technologies, among other things) by U.S. venture capital firms totaled $2.6 billion — the highest annual dollar volume ever (even with just 3 quarters worth of data) — according to a recent industry report. Of those investments, solar energy was the biggest sub-sector funded, with 35 solar-related deals totaling $664.6 million. And, I interpret this as a clear sign that the clean-energy market is viable — indeed, thriving.

All this illustrates the coalescence of forces that we’re seeing in the energy arena in the United States — and indeed, throughout the world. Governments around the world recognize that there is an urgent need to accelerate the development of these technologies and to bring them to market. And, at the same time, the private sector recognizes that there’s a big opportunity here: one that can favourably impact their balance sheets as well as the world’s energy security and environmental health.

The challenges that we face are too large and too important for a “business as usual” approach. We must bet on technology and we must take some risks.

One final point, which I make with particular emphasis: we must promote increased energy efficiency across the global economy. The truth is the biggest source of immediately available “new” energy is the energy that we waste every day. I believe that improvements in energy efficiency can be achieved — in relatively short order — on a global scale in our industrial and power-generating sectors, our government agencies, our homes, our offices, and our transportation sector.

Collectively, these measures will not only take some pressure off of demand, but also improve the health of our shared environment.

Together, with the right leadership and funding commitments from governments around the globe, with the talent of our world’s scientists and engineers, and with (he capital, commitment and innovative power of our commercial sectors — which you all represent — we will solve this problem . .we will achieve a cleaner, affordable, and secure energy future for all people of the world.

The Honourable Samuel W Bodman, United States Secretary of Energy at lunch with the American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo, January 2008..

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