Nigeria is a well-known leading oil producer and a key member of the Organisation of Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC). It is the highest oil producer in Africa.
Nigeria currently produces about 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. While Nigeria is well known for its abundant oil resources, the country is not as well-known for its gas potential. Gas has the potential to power Nigeria and its neighbours and it offers a relatively cheaper, more secure and cleaner way of generating energy.
Ironically, Nigeria appears to be more endowed in gas than oil, yet cannot provide enough natural gas to thermal power plants in the south to generate electricity for use by homes and industries.
It is therefore not surprising that the gas sector has recently been receiving increased attention, especially with the dwindling fortunes of the oil business.
Nigeria’s gas reserve is put at around 180 trillion standard cubic feet (SCF). It is in the top-10 bracket of the world in terms of its gas reserves and it is the leader in Africa. If its enormous gas potential is properly harnessed, Nigeria is capable of experiencing great developmental strides and growth that should naturally accrue to a country as blessed with so much abundant resources as Nigeria is. To achieve its potential, however, Nigeria has to overcome some critical challenges.
As part of its strategy to meet Nigeria’s gas requirements, Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has recently completed the acquisition of Twister B.V., a company headquartered in the Netherlands.
Twister B.V. delivers reliable, high-yield and robust solutions in natural gas processing and separation to the upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors. Twister’s unique separation capabilities are designed for augmenting production and streamlining processes, to capitalise on high-yield gas processing for maximising revenues. Twister B.V. used to be owned by Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1, before its recent acquisition by DIL together with its partner – First E&P.
Based on sophisticated patented technology, Twister gas plants are typically cheaper to build and operate compared to alternative technologies, and also deliver better performance levels. The company has customers in Nigeria, Malaysia, and South America.
The acquisition complements DIL’s portfolio of investments in the upstream, midstream, and downstream segments of the Oil & Gas sector. The company will help design and build the gas plants which would be critical in processing gas from oil fields for transportation via Dangote’s planned sub-sea pipeline (EWOGGS) for ultimate consumption by various industries and power plants.
The president and CEO of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said, “This was an important acquisition for us. Twister’s cutting edge gas processing technology is fundamental to delivering our strategy to unlock about 3 bcfd of gas in order to meet Nigeria’s gas needs.”
The CEO of Twister, John Young said “We are delighted in the confidence Dangote Industries Limited and First E&P have shown in Twister to be their core provider of gas separation solutions. After a very thorough due diligence our technology has been recognised as a key enabler to reduce gas project costs which is crucial in this current environment. We are excited to be part of the Dangote family of companies.”
It would be recalled that the refinery and fertilizer projects of Dangote Industries Limited is reported to have the capacity of creating a minimum of 235,000 new jobs, both direct and indirect jobs, as it becomes operational in the first quarter of 2019.
Dangote, who revealed this recently, also stated that the projects would cost a minimum of $17 billion.
He said the $12 billion refinery would have a capacity of 650,000 barrels a day. He assured that there will be market for the refined products because even in Africa, only three countries have effective functioning refinery with others importing from abroad.
Dangote named the countries with refinery as Egypt, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire, saying “Our refinery will be ready in the first quarter of 2019. Mechanical completion will be end of 2018 but we will start producing in 2019.”
When the projects fully take off in 2019, Dangote said it would help the country save $5 billion spent on the importation of oil into the country.
The refinery, petrochemicals and fertilizer in one spot according to him is the single largest stream in the world. “This site is the biggest site in the world, the refinery is the biggest single refinery in the world, the petrochemicals are 13 times bigger than Eleme Petrochemicals while the fertilizer plant will be 10 times bigger than former National Fertilizer Company. He explained that the project with the $2 billion fertilizer unit was funded through loans, export credit agencies and our own equity.”
Recently, the vice president, Prof. Yemi osibanjo at the ninth annual conference of the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE) stated that because of Nigeria’s inability to provide gas for her thermal electricity generation plants, the country currently has up to 3132 megawatts (MW) of available electricity generation capacity constrained from getting into the national grid.
He explained that the situation has largely remained as it is because there had been no investment in gas gathering and processing facilities for domestic consumption especially for gas power plants.
He, however, stated that the federal government was determined to sustainably resolve the country’s energy challenges using institutional and regulatory policy framework that will incentivise the development of her natural gas sector.
“It is almost a cliché now to state that Nigeria abundant natural gas reserves and great renewable energy potentials especially in hydro power and high solar irradiation.
“Despite these huge resources, we still face huge energy supply problems. In fact, it is an irony that we do not have sufficient gas to fire our power plants up to 7000MW, yet in energy industry circle, Nigeria is described as more a gas territory than an oil territory,” said Osinbajo.
He further explained, “Currently, the country has over 12,500MW of installed electricity generating capacity, consisting of gas thermal and hydropower plants. About 7,000mw of that is available, however, from the System Operator’s report, the average energy generated and sent out to end users in the past weeks was less than 4,000mw due largely to gas constraints.”
“We have limited gas molecules to supply to the power plants. This is as a result of many years of underinvestment in gas gathering and processing for domestic consumption and also many years of gas flaring.
“In addition, there is also the challenge of inadequate infrastructure to transport the available gas to the power plants due also to lack of investment in gas transportation infrastructure and to vandalism of existing infrastructure,” Osibanjo added.
According to him, the present administration acknowledges that there is no alternative to electric energy for energising and powering Nigeria’s economy to economic growth and development, thus, we are determined to resolve the challenges to achieving sustainable energy supply in the country.
“We are working towards resolving the gas-to-power challenges, ensuring that the needed investments will be made in gas gathering and processing for domestic consumption, especially for power plants,” he said.
Also, stakeholders have said the country needs to increase power production, saying “Nigeria lags behind many of its developing country peers in electricity production per capita. The limited access to power is widely recognised as a critical constraint on growth, and indeed a tragedy given the vast oil and gas reserves in Nigeria.”