The Group Managing Director of Nestoil Group, Dr Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, has called on the Federal Government to allow market forces determine the cost of gas in order for the economy to benefit from the nation’s gas potential.
Azudialu-Obiejesi lamented that the country continued to generate less than 4,000 megawatts of power on the average despite having the ninth largest proven gas reserves in the world and the biggest in Africa.
According to him, the nation’s power deficit will not improve if the government does not take the drastic step of completely allowing market forces to determine costs.
He spoke at the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja where he was represented by the company’s Executive Director, Dr Chukwueloka Umeh.
He said a willing-buyer-willing-seller scenario that would allow gas producers to sell to off-takers at commercially viable rates would encourage investments in the gas sector.
Azudialu-Obiejesi described the successful deregulation of the telecommunications sector in Nigeria as a good case study that should be replicated in the oil and gas industry in order to stimulate exponential growth in the industry.
According to him, the telecoms sector is growing in Nigeria because Government regulations are relaxed enough to allow competition to drive pricing and product offerings.
Azudialu-Obiejesi also called on Nigeria to invest more in gas infrastructure rather than crude oil, which, according to him, would continue to decline in long-term economic relevance as the world continued to embrace cleaner forms of energy.
“Many countries in Europe are at the forefront of this energy revolution, and with time, African countries, including Nigeria, will be dragged along. It is time now to embrace a paradigm shift, and change Nigeria’s energy focus squarely from crude oil to gas,” he added.
He cited China as a country that significantly transformed its fortunes in 20 years by investing in power and other infrastructure.
“The primary catalyst for China’s growth was the country’s strong stance to invest in building a robust infrastructure. They built large base load power plants in many locations to provide reliable power to its growing manufacturing industries,” the Nestoil boss said.