President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria is taking appropriate steps to turn its abundant gas resources into veritable catalyst for development as the nation’s gas potential might be in excess of 600 trillion cubic feet.
The President said this at the 3rd summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Tehran, Iran on Monday.
Buhari said the country was taking the steps because natural gas was fast evolving as the fuel of choice for sustainable development in view of its impressive suitability for environmental protection and lower cost of supply in comparison with fossil fuels.
He, therefore, charged the leadership of the GECF to take appropriate steps towards sustaining the pricing of gas at the international market for the benefit of member countries.
He said the stability of the energy and financial market was critical to ensuring investments in current and future natural gas projects.
“It is therefore imperative that the GECF plays a significant role towards energy security by driving the formulation of a sustainable pricing mechanism that will guarantee fair and reasonable for both producers and consumers,” he added.
President Buhari noted that for decades, Nigeria focused on the development of crude oil like other oil producing countries.
He said: “Our current National Proven Gas Reserve Base is 188 Trillion Cubic Feet. But our actual gas potential may be in excess of 600 Trillion Cubic Feet.
“With this great potential, Nigeria is taking appropriate steps to turn its abundant gas resources into veritable catalyst for development.”
President Buhari also called on the forum to foster technical and economic cooperation among member states.
According to him, Nigeria remains the hub for natural gas supply in West African sub region with the construction of 681-kilometre West African Gas Pipeline, which currently transmits gas from the country to neighbouring countries of Benin, Togo and Ghana.
He said: “Nigeria is among the world’s top five exporters of Liquefied Natural Gas and we recently celebrated the 3000th export cargo milestone.
“Similarly, we have asserted regional prominence by becoming the hub for natural gas supply in the West African sub-region through our leadership role in the development of the 681km West African Gas Pipeline, which currently transmits gas from Nigeria to neighbouring countries of Benin, Togo and Ghana.”
Buhari also charged the forum on the need to deploy research and development initiatives towards technology innovations in exploration and development processing, logistics and marketing for the benefit of member countries.
He also charged the member countries to ensure that the exploration of gas resources was done in a sustainable manner so as not to jeopardise the security of the future generation of member states.
Buhari called on them to ensure optimum gas reserves replacement and work towards ending routine gas flaring in the shortest possible time.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the forum and the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, called for cooperation of member states to get maximum benefits from the natural resources.
The Secretary of the Forum, Seyed Hossein Adeli, informed the meeting that Azerbijah had indicated interest in joining the body as an observer.
Adeli noted that the body had begun to command international recognition and credibility.
Adeli, however, stressed the need for member countries to build mutual understanding and address the common challenges facing gas producing nations.