AS most of the nation’s natural gas reserves remain untapped, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said the Federal Government will accelerate approval for gas infrastructure projects.
Kachikwu stated this in a presentation at the 2016 Nigeria Content Investment Forum in Houston Texas, United States, which was made available to our correspondent on Wednesday.
The minister, who was represented by the Acting Executive Secretary, Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, Mr. Daziba Obah, said the government would address the issue of long contracting cycle in the oil and gas industry, among others.
He said, “We will accelerate implementation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme to enable our SMEs to focus on production and services, while we develop infrastructure and facilities to support domiciliation imperatives.
“We will accelerate approval for gas infrastructure projects to make gas available in specialised oil and gas manufacturing and service hubs. The gas infrastructure will assist in meeting the energy and power requirement of businesses supporting the oil and gas industry.”
Kachikwu noted that the contracting process in the industry spanned between two and four years.
He, therefore, urged all agencies involved in the contracting process such as the NCDMB, National Petroleum Investment Management Services and operating companies to work together and develop a common industry contracting procedure that would reduce the contracting processing time and six months.
The minister said the government was pushing ahead in its drive to harness the nation’s hydrocarbon resources for industrialisation, adding that emphasis was no longer to generate revenue from exporting crude oil, but to process locally to meet domestic needs.
He said tariffs that put local production at a disadvantage were being reviewed as a way of enhancing competitiveness of locally-made goods that were critical to the industry such as steel pipes and valves.
To support the peculiar funding needs of oil and gas service companies, he noted that the Nigerian Content Development Fund was achieved.
“The NCDF provides sources of low-interest fund for the execution of projects and capacity development interventions in the oil and gas industry. The NCDF operating model is currently being reviewed to enhance its accessibility by local service companies for their capacity enhancement activities,” Kachikwu said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s annual oil and gas trade with Houston, Texas in 2015 was valued at $15bn.
The Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, was quoted as saying that oil and gas trade between Nigeria and the city was a success story because of their close tie.
Turner stated this in a special message to Nigeria’s Small Medium Enterprises and Houston’s Original Equipment Manufacturers at the 2016 NCIF organised by Sweetcrude Reports in collaboration with the NCDMB.