Nigeria: Govt Reiterates Pledge to Unlock Opportunities in Gas Sector

3 August 2020

The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has said Africa, particularly Nigeria, has huge gas resources which can be harnessed and leveraged for economic growth opportunities.

Mele, stated this at the Seplat Energy Summit 2020 with the theme "Business Sustainability and Strategic Leadership in Africa.'

The summit featured discussions on providing valuable insights on the challenging cases on the role of energy systems to build a sustainable Africa economies.

"We must not lose sight of the fact that the world is transiting transition to renewable. Gas business is the future," Kyari said.

The maiden event had in attendance government officials, apex and self-regulatory organisations, capital market operators, players in oil and gas, investment bankers, policymakers, chief executive officers (CEOs), economists, researchers, analysts, academics, and private equity firms.

In his submission, President of Nigerian Gas Association, Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, said: "We need to leverage on Africa over 527 TCF proven natural gas reserves and use that side by sides complementary to building up our renewables profile as well which Nigeria should be championing."

The new Chief Executive Officer, Seplat, Roger Brown, said Africa as a continent needs to build that base-load for which it can build from and drive it's gas agenda which Nigeria can lead through renewable energy.

Concerning expectation from government which will allow Nigeria play a leading role, Brown said the government should support oil firms through partnerships in Joint Venture agreement, more support in competing transactions and approvals and clearer legislature.

Chairman, Corporate Social Responsibility Committee Board, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown said African energy is caught in two overlapping revolutions which include shifting from being a supplier to the global markets to a supplier to a pan African regional market and the dramatic potential change in the energy mix as it shift from fossil fuels to renewables.

"Africa is right up there as one of the most dynamic growing markets, also the continent has some of the most important potential renewable assets in the world," Malloch-Brown said.

Speaking on how to finance the energy sector on the African continent, former Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh, asked energy companies to rigorously optimise their cash flow by rigorous cost cutting and also rationalise their asset portfolio.

"They should try and divest non-performing assets, optimise investments in merge and acquisitions and explore other financial structures," Oteh said.

On his part, CEO, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar Onyema, said domestic investors were still willing to continue to put money into oil and gas sector however he warned that the oil and gas sector will continue to experience eternal pressure throughout 2020.

He explained that the global pace of growth and the intensity of the trade tensions between the United States and China will continue to be a determine factors for investments.

President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Benedict Oramah, said the future for Africa is integration which was why African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was put in place which will create a harmonised approach that will distribute energy in a way that allows direct consumption.

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