27 November 2012

Nigeria: NERC, Others to Brainstorm On Investment Prospects in Gas-to-Power

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said it is initiating measures that would enhance private investment in natural gas-fired electricity generation in Nigeria, in line with the Federal Government's reform exercise in the power sector.

Towards this end, NERC in conjunction with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and United States Agency for International Development (USIAD) are planning a three-day workshop to explore potential openings available for private investment in gas-to-power in Nigeria.

According to the Assistant General Manager, Media, NERC, Mrs. Maryam Abubakar, in Abuja, the workshop, scheduled for Lagos would involve a team of experts from NARUC and other experts in the field of natural gas-fired electricity generation extensively examine with their Nigerian counterparts on possible measures to enhance investment in gas-to-power within the country.

NARUC is an association of public service commission in the United States that has been in a twinning partnership with NERC to help improve its capacity to regulate Nigeria's emerging power sector. The partnership has seen NERC take valuable contribution on standard regulatory practice from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), District of Columbia Public Service Commission (DCSC), Missouri Public Service Commission (MOPSC), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) and Arizona Public Service Commission (AZPSC).

Abubakar explained that the workshop would concentrate on issues ranging from global gas-to-power business in relation to the Nigerian gas market as well as its potential to enhance electricity production in the country.

She also noted that the workshop would assess current regulatory environment and financial issues affecting investment in gas-to-power within Nigeria, the regional gas transportation framework of the West Africa Gas Pipeline Authority (WAGPA) and other factors affecting the emergence of a sustainable gas-fired electricity generation in the country.

According to Abubakar, other issues like investment drivers in the gas-to-power business, developing an integrated natural gas value chain, cost recovery in natural gas business as well as development of a framework for sustained private sector participation in gas-to-power would equally dominate proceedings at the workshop.

"Developing tariffs for integrated natural gas value chain will equally be discussed because each and every component of the gas chain including production, gathering, processing, pipeline and distribution systems must be compensated adequately for investments made and expenses incurred.

"Regulators will need to appreciate the economic factors relevant to gas projects in order to affectively establish prices to recover investments. How should these prices be contained in the tariff or other pricing structures for natural gas production, gas processing, gas transportation and distribution, these are some of what will be discussed at the workshop," she explained.

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