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By the end of its Decade of Gas in 2030, Nigeria needs to have brought gas to all its state capital cities if it wants to truly spur industrialization, ND Western CEO Eberechukwu Oji said in Abuja last week. Oji was speaking at the 21st NOG Conference & Exhibition that took place from July 4-7, 2022.

“A country is considered industrialized if its industrial output stands at around 20% of its gross domestic product (GDP),” he said. “Nigeria is far below that but has an opportunity to boost manufacturing and industrial production by monetizing its natural gas reserves. To reach that goal, we need to implement policies that enable capital to flow into gas infrastructure and make gas available to all of Nigeria’s state capital cities,” he added.

ND Western owns 45% of OML 34 in the onshore Niger Delta where it produces oil and natural gas. It notably operates three gas processing plants there with a combined capacity of 600 MMscf/d and supplies gas to power plants and industries. However, illiquidity in the power sector value-chain has made investments into gas production uneconomically, and demand for gas-based industrialization is seen as much more attractive for operators in Nigeria.

In May this year, ND Western partnered with another Nigerian independent, First Hydrocarbons Nigeria (FHN), and with gas distributor Falcon Corporation to provide gas to the Lagos Free Zone. The Gas Infrastructure Development Agreement (GIDA) was signed with their special purpose vehicle, Optimera Energy FZE, and will start delivering an initial 5 MMscf/d of gas from 2024.

“We need to unlock investments into distributing gas to all of Nigeria’s industrial hubs,” Oji explained. “Even some demand centers in the East remain in need of gas for their industries. We need to look at the originally conceived eastern gas network and make gas available in Benue, Ebonyi, and Anambra states.”

Oji was speaking on the day when the Parliament of the European Union backed new rules labelling investments in gas and nuclear power plants as climate-friendly. “Nigeria needs to get down to business with these new rules and think of commercializing its gas on a much larger scale for the export and domestic market,” he commented.