The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, over the weekend declared that Nigeria's oil industry has the potential to alleviate global supply issues if fully developed to assume its natural role as a major strategic lever in the global economic and security space.
Mrs. Alison- Madueke hinted that in the years ahead Nigeria will expand its Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) capacity from current 26 Million Tones Per Annum, (MTPA), with additional 20 MTPA through the planned Brass LNG. The Minister made the submission while delivering a memorial lecture on, The Strategic Importance of Nigeria's Oil and Gas Industry to Global Security and World Global Economy, at the Howard University, in Washington DC, United States.
Alison-Madueke, an alumnus of the University, was also conferred with the Centennial Achievement Award by the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences of the Howard University. In the presentation, the Minister argued that Nigeria's oil and gas reserves, estimated at 37billion barrels and 187 trillion cubic feet, respectively, and its leading role in the regional and continental spheres placed it in a position to "provide a low hanging mechanism to address global security challenges. She noted that with energy in the heart of every economic, environmental and development issue, it has inextricably become linked to global security and the economy, adding that current volatility and exceptionally high energy and commodity prices exacerbate current global financial crunch and economic meltdown.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke noted that issues relating to rising energy demand and increasing concentration of supply, high oil and gas import bills, rapidly progressing climate change, food security and global terrorism have equally compounded the issues. As a result she maintained that the oil and gas industry is cardinal to global economic stability and security, adding that these called for "expansion and diversification of supply, a shift towards more cleaner fuels such as natural gas, leveraging of energy resources particularly in developing countries to fuel major domestic economic growth to forestall the vulnerability to terrorism or poverty." "It is against this backdrop that Nigeria's oil and gas industry features as a major strategic lever in the global economic order and global security," she added.
This, she maintained, is because the Nigerian petroleum supplies are strategically located in the heart of the Gulf of Guinea, one of the three most important future hydrocarbon regions of the world, after the Middle East and the Soviet Union, as well as the fact that its location is proximal to major consuming centers such as the USA and Europe. "More importantly, it benefits from the absence of narrow ship maritime lanes known as choke points such as the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of Suez.
Preservation of these choke points has been responsible for some of the world's most visible tensions," she added. Apart from developing its oil wealth, Alison-Madueke told the Howard University community that the President Goodluck Jonathan's administration is equally leveraging on the nation's abundant gas reserves through gas infrastructure development to stimulate rapid domestic and regional economic growth and grow liquefied natural gas, LNG exports.
In addition to building a gas based domestic industry, through gas to power, petrochemical and fertilizer plants, Mrs. Alison-Madueke said Nigeria also intends to expand its Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) capacity from current 26 Million Tones Per Annum, (MTPA), with additional 20 MTPA through the Brass LNG, which final investment decision, she said was fast approaching. The Minister said Nigeria currently aspires to grow her crude oil reserves to 40 billion barrels and increase production capacity to 4 million barrels by 2020.
'The Nigeria deepwater and shallow offshore have shown to be highly prolific. With expansion of capacity by almost 1million barrels per day over the next few years, Nigeria can significantly contribute to global supply additions and diversification, thereby alleviating the challenge of supply concentration around the Middle East,' the Minister stated.