Nasarawa state Gov. Abdullahi Sule said on Thursday that the country’s major challenges and problems could be resolved with its gas reserves.

Gov. Sule said this in Abuja at the 6th Triennial Branch Delegates Conference/Award of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) PENGASSAN, under the theme: “Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) – Prospects for the Nigerian oil and gas industry”.

The governor said Nigeria is a gas country with oil, going by the volume of her gas reserves.

“When I was working for an oil and gas company in the past, we used to categorise Nigeria as among the various nations of oil and gas, we used to see Nigeria as a gas country with oil.

“With over 200 trillion standard cubic feet of gas that we have, Nigeria is indeed a gas country. And for those who understand the industry, if we develop the gas alone, even without the 40 million barrels of oil we have, the gas will be enough to sustain Nigeria.

“All the problems about power, fertiliser, the challenges we have in agriculture will be resolved easily with the gas reserve that we have.

“I want PENGASSAN to promote gas because a lot of countries survived with gas; it’s gas that made Qatar what it is today, not oil.

“So, this is the opportunity we have that we must develop, if we have to survive as a nation,” Sule said.

Mr. Sarki Auwalu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), who was the chief host of the conference, said the focus on the PIA was to highlight the importance of the law to the oil and gas sector.

Auwalu also said that PIA would overhaul the oil and gas industry and eventually set the country on the path of greatness.

Mr Sarki Auwalu
Mr Sarki Auwalu

“The theme of this conference is a further testament to the critical role played by the constructive unionism in  national development, the petroleum industry in particular.

“You will agree with me that President Muhammadu Buhari achieved a monumental feat in advancing the Nigeria oil and gas industry.

“This was enabled through the signing of the PIB into an Act and this took us 20 years to achieve this legacy; president Buhari deserves an applause.

“In spite of the fact that we are going to net-zero, I believe that the PIA has a focus on the future and we will see how that future will be guaranteed with respect to environmental consciousness.

“I believe that the PIA will guarantee the future of our children and grand children,” Auwalu said.

He called for closer collaboration between PENGASSAN and the DPR, especially as it concerned the implementation of the PIA, for the oil and gas industry to continue to thrive.

President of PENGASSAN, Mr. Festus Osifo regretted that the PIB was signed into law by President Buhari with some errors, but noted that it could be subjected to amendments for some of the errors to be removed.

Mr Osifo Festus
Mr Osifo Festus

“The only snag we have today is that we channel our energy into production of crude oil reserve; if we continue the way we are today, that is 2 million barrels per day and about 37 million barrels reserve, it will take us years to move forward.

“We should be thinking of how to fast track to ensure that the 2 million production is moved to 3 or 4 million barrels.

“If we don’t do that quickly, we are going to be caught in the trap of energy transition or fall into the web of what happened to our coal. Today, coal is trapped in the ground and nobody is interested.

“We must develop the ability to translate those desires into daily production and for us to do that we must attract investment largely. And we are happy with the part of PIA that talks about royalty, hydrocarbon and all that.

“So, the incentive for investment is actually there,” Osifo said.

Mr. Owan Abua, Branch Chairman, DPR PENGASSAN Branch, noted that the union did not agree entirely with the submissions of the PIA, but that it was better to have a working document that can be amended along the line if required, than not having the bill not passed.

He expressed the hope that the PIA would guarantee job security in the industry which was the union’s primary focus.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference ended with a dinner/award night, which saw the Nasarawa Gov. Sule and others rewarded for their meritorious services. (NAN)

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