The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Nestoil Limited, Dr Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, has called on the Federal Government to increase the construction of secure pipeline network to enhance access to natural gas supply by power generating stations and other areas where gas is needed.
This, he said, will boost the realisation of power generation output of 20,000 megawatts (MW) needed to drive industrialisation to spur economic development.
Azudialu-Obiejesi gave the advice in a paper delivered during the second edition of the Nigerian International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference (NIPITECS), in Abuja, on Tuesday.
According to him, the current method of using domestic gas cylinders is outdated, and had been scrapped in industrialised nations.
"Nigeria, with its abundant reserves of petroleum and gas, stands on the threshold of its own industrial revolution.
To kick-start this industrialisation, we must not only extract these resources in the most efficient manner, but also refine and deliver them efficiently, and in a secure and cost effective manner," he suggested.
He added that investment in more pipelines by the Federal Government will eliminate dangerous exposure suffered by the people when oil and gas products are evacuated by road transport infrastructure.
He also identified vandalism, sabotage, ageing and integrity issues as major challenges to the construction, maintenance and operation of existing pipelines, noting that these have resulted in oil spills with the attendant environmental, health and safety implications as well as negative impact on agricultural and fishing activities.
"Considering the age, state and exposure of our pipeline infrastructure, there should be concrete plans for their replacement with better designed, constructed and secured pipelines utilising modern methods and technologies," Azudialu suggested.
He therefore urged the government to address issues of criminality, sabotage and vandalism, to ensure the security, reliability and continuous operation of the pipelines network.
The Chairman, Pipelines Professional Association of Nigeria (PLAN), Mr Geoff Onuoha, in his welcome address decried the low level of pipelines in the country compared with other countries with lesser population.
To develop the economy and fast track growth, he called for the encouragement of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the establishment of new pipelines.
"In order to reduce current challenges of pipeline maintenance, the private sector must be allowed to become owners of pipelines for stricter control and effective monitoring," he said.