President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said that Nigeria intends to sign the United Nations Agreement on Zero Routing Gas Flaring by 2030.
This will be done with the support of the National Assembly.
Buhari, who spoke through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the opening of the 6th African Petroleum Congress and Exhibition in Abuja, also disclosed that the federal government has set an earlier national target of 2020 to end gas flaring in the country.
He said that ending gas flaring was an imperative for African oil producers considering the amount of waste involved.
The President, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, also called on African countries to take advantage of the gas-to-power potentials.
He observed that “there is also the gas-to-power challenge in many member-states and the paradox of much gas but precious little gas to fire power plants.”
“It’s time to take a much further stand on gas flaring, both from environmental and a waste-of-needed-resources perspectives,” he told the gathering composed of oil and energy ministers from several African countries and chieftains in the oil and gas sector.
He explained that the incremental use of gas in Africa’s energy mix has become an imperative stressing that if Africa must meet her future energy needs, the issue of the development of a robust gas infrastructure must be jointly addressed.
Of the over 150 billion cubit metres of associated gas being flared annually in the world, he saud that Africa flares an estimated 40 billion cubit metres, while about half of that is flared by Nigeria.
He further observed that Nigeria has the 7th largest deposit of gas in the world with reserves estimated at over 185 trillion cubic feet (TCF) and also the highest quality.
He said that with the present volatility in the industry, the coming years would be defining for African oil and gas producing countries.
The President suggested that developing local content initiatives and policies would be very useful for the sector, while also adding that “a common approach to local content will ensure that the whole of Africa benefit from economy of scale associated with vast resources.”
With the current oil prices and the challenges faced in the industry, he said that the relevance and creativity of the African Petroleum Producers Association “is being tested.”
The President assured that the continent has all the resources needed to transform African countries stating that “there is no reason why the African oil and gas industry should remain attached to the apron springs of industries elsewhere.”
Expressing the need for African oil producing countries to take their destiny in their hands, he challenged African Petroleum Producers Association (APPA) member-countries to recognize the latent and huge resources in Africa and develop the strategy for the development of domestic refining capacity in the oil and gas critical for sustainable economic growth.
“We must explore mechanisms to expand regional refining capacities in an efficient and cost effective manner”, he said.