Stakeholders Seek Private Sector-driven Investment in Gas Infrastructure

Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have urged the Federal Government to make the ongoing gas infrastructure projects private sector-driven in order to enhanced strategic investment.

Mr Austin Avuru, the Managing Director of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Limited; and his counterpart Mr Ademola Adeyemi-Bero, the Managing Director, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company spoke to the Voice of Nigeria on this proposition.

The stakeholders made the observations in Lagos at a forum tagged: “How African Oil can Better Compete in Today’s Challenging Markets’’.

Reports also stated that the forum was organised by the West Africa International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (WAIPEC).

They suggested to the Federal Government to make strategic gas infrastructure like the Escravos-Lagos Gas Pipeline, proposed Ajaokuta, Kaduna and Kano Gas Pipeline and the East-west Gas Pipeline under construction private sector-driven so as to attract sustainable investments.

According to them, the government should just be an enabler and allow the private sector to take full charge of the operations and management of such infrastructures.

They said this step was necessary in order to attract the necessary investment in the gas sub-sector.

In his comments, Avuru said that if the gas pipelines and power infrastructure, currently in place, were to be viable, the private sector must be allowed to take charge of their operations.

Avuru said that government should not allow the projects to go the ways of infrastructure like the refineries, Ajaokuta Steel project, Nigerian Railway Corporation and Nigerian Airways went.

According to him, the issue of Nigeria Gas Company that manages the gas pipelines is worrisome as it may not efficiently manage the infrastructure.

“The running of gas pipelines is more technical and complex. It is true that government is making efforts to double the gas intake of Escravos-Lagos Gas Pipeline from one billion standard cubic feet of gas per day to two billion.

“The Ajaokuta to Kaduna and Kano (AKK) proposed gas pipeline is not going to be a stand-alone pipeline as it going to feed on another pipeline.

“So, if anybody is investing in AKK pipeline, such person must ask, where will the pipeline feed come from?

“The investors must look at it within that context,’’ Avuru said.

Also, Adeyemi-Bero, said that the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline would not be viable if the power sector remains the only reason for the project.

According to him, private sector participation is key for if investment needed for the project to take off must come.

“Power sector alone cannot make the project viable,’’ he said.